Brightons bins in crisis again

4 Oct 01
Brighton's 'Bingate' crisis, which led to the collapse of a multimillion pound private sector deal in the summer, is threatening to escalate again amid fears that the council cannot afford the cost of a new contract.

05 October 2001

Brighton & Hove Council is now facing a refuse collection bill that could rise to £13.5m for a five-year contract with the new preferred bidder, Serviceteam.

This is twice the cost of the previous £6.7m contract held by Sita, the French multinational company that was sacked in June after strikes by refuse collectors.

Brighton's ability to meet the costs of the contract, originally due to be signed on October 15, is in question as the council already faces a £5.7m overspend for the current financial year. The council said it was in negotiations with Serviceteam but a spokesman admitted the contract was 'an additional budget pressure'.

Philip Walker, marketing director with Serviceteam, said previous contracts had not met the true value of the service. 'We are not prepared to underbid for work,' he said.

Although negotiations were well advanced, Walker admitted the deal could still collapse. 'I wouldn't say we are confident because the council is between a rock and a hard place,' he said.

Walker added that Serviceteam would meet the 'full costs' of staff transferring to the new contract and honour existing pension rights.

GMB union official Gary Smith, who represents the refuse collectors, said Brighton & Hove was in crisis and called on councillors to consult workers and the public to find a solution.


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