As industrial action by Birmingham’s refuse collectors continues, hundreds of streets are being left with their rubbish collections being missed.

Maggots around bin bags in Cotteridge after two weeks missed collections [Photo: Sharon Styles]
With some households having already missed collections even before the official action by Unite union members began, the backlog has been building up – for several weeks in some cases.

Why?

Unite members voted by 90 per cent for strike action over proposed job cuts to the city’s waste and refuse service, and proposed changes to working patterns and staffing levels.

Commenting after the ballot in June, Unite regional officer Lynne Shakespeare said: “The council’s actions have managed to combine financial incompetence in the waste management team and now they have started bullying our members as the bosses attempt to cut full-time jobs.

“The council wants to axe 122 waste collection jobs after a woefully inadequate consultation with the unions.”

However, Jacqui Kennedy, Birmingham City Council’s Corporate Director for Place, said: “Our proposals are all about improving services for the people of Birmingham – with no job losses. In fact, we’re creating up to 246 full-time permanent roles and that will lead to better-trained staff that better understand Birmingham and want the best for our city.”

Action

Workers are currently returning to base for breaks and refusing overtime.

Further strike action is set to take place on Tuesday 11th July then every weekday from Friday, July 14 to Friday, August 4 with workers stopping for 2 hours a time.

Effects

Talks are ongoing between the council and union representatives. It is unclear how these talks are going but – according to the Birmingham Mail – Unite have now announced further strikes of two hours every week day for two weeks.

With rounds taking longer, it seems the same households – toward the end of rounds – have been having their collections missed on more than one occasion.

A source told B31 Voices that workers have now been asked to clear backlog before scheduled rounds. Hopefully, this will mean that collections will take place for all, but may be a day (or few) late!

See our tips on what to do if your collection is missed

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