King’s Counsel Aileen McColgan has published her report based on a three-month investigation into Cityclean, Brighton’s waste service provider.

It includes accounts of staff members making threats of, and using, physical violence; making inappropriate sexual comments to and about women; racially abusing others and painting racist graffiti on bin lorries, and refusing to work with a staff member because he is gay.

Weapons were found in a search of the depot that was prompted by witnesses’ accounts, the council has also said.

In her report, Ms McColgan said: ‘Many of the individuals accused of these inappropriate behaviours are either GMB reps within the council or are among a group of 10 white men who were described by witnesses as having been protected by the GMB reps within the council.’

She added that these individuals had 'not yet been given the opportunity to answer any of these allegations'.

A GMB spokesperson said the language and behaviour alleged in the report was ‘entirely unacceptable’ and the union was committed to ‘facing down discrimination’, but said GMB was concerned that the report ‘fails the basic test of fairness.’

The spokesperson said: ‘It has been compiled and published without contributions from people who are the subject of allegations, raising serious questions regarding its balance.

‘There are also a number of areas where sweeping allegations are made on the basis of anonymous, unsupported statements that cannot be fairly assessed.’

The report makes several recommendations including that the council takes disciplinary action against named individuals, stops running member appeal panels, and that there are changes to the working relationship between the council and GMB in Cityclean.

Council leader Bella Sankey said: ‘As council leader I will accept nothing less than zero tolerance to bullying, sexism, racism, aggression and intimidation within Brighton and Hove City Council.

‘As leader and as a council, we fully accept Aileen McColgan’s recommendations.’

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