Birmingham City Council are to scrap separate recycling collections and New Year’s Day collections in a bid to minimise disruption to waste collection ahead of industrial action by members of Unite the union. 

Last week, refuse collectors – members of the Unite union – voted to take industrial action in the post-Christmas period as part of a row over claims workers who previously took strike action have been subject to ‘blacklisting’ by the council.

97% of those who voted chose to take action over payments made to refuse workers who did not support last year’s long running bin dispute.

The action will begin on Saturday 29th December, with workers refusing to work overtime and only working to rule. This will make rounds less productive with workers sticking to their contracted hours, working within their job restrictions and returning to base for breaks.

In a bid to minimise the impact on catch-up services and clearing of extra waste after after Christmas, Birmingham City Council have today announced some changes to collections and the processing of waste. Their contingency plan replaces previously announced plans for the Christmas and New Year period.

What is the contingency plan?

  • When will the plan come into action? 29th December.
  • What will be collected? There will be ONE combined weekly collection of ALL waste types: household waste and recycling will be collected at the same time, in the same truck and processed the same.
  • When will it be collected? Collections will be being carried out between 6am and 10pm, 7 days a week (except New Year’s Day).
  • When should you put out your rubbish? Put your rubbish out before 6pm on your normal collection day. *(unless your collection is due on Christmas Day (25th Dec), Boxing Day (26th Dec) or New Year’s Day (1st Jan) See below
  • What if it isn’t collected on my normal collection day? Leave your rubbish out until it has been collected.
  • Can I leave some bags on the side? A reasonable amount of side waste (specified as 2-3 bags) will be collected from households that have missed a collection by arrangement (25 Dec, 26 Dec, 1 Jan).
  • My collection is scheduled to be missed. When will it be collected? 
    – Scheduled collection on Tues 25 Dec will be collected on Tues 8 Jan
    – Scheduled collection on Wed 26 Dec will be collected on Tues 2 Jan
    – Scheduled collection on Tues 1 Jan will be collected on Tues 8 Jan

As the collection previously scheduled for New Year’s Day has been cancelled, residents with a Tuesday collection will now not have a collection until Tuesday 8th January.

If you wish to continue to recycle, the city’s five Household Recycling Centres (HRCs) offer an alternative option for citizens to dispose of all types of waste including recycling. Before any visit, residents can check opening hours and view the queues at their HRC by clicking here.

Cllr Majid Mahmood, Cabinet Member for Clean Streets, Waste and Recycling, said: “Our immediate priority is to minimise the disruption to the people who live in Birmingham.

“We have a contingency, but there will be alterations to the way we process waste that is collected.

“I know this will be of concern to residents who are keen to recycle as much of their waste as possible, but our top priority has to be that of citizens – clean streets for Birmingham.

“We thank those who are committed to throwing away as little waste as possible and look forward to swiftly resolving this dispute so they can resume their recycling – and if there is any disruption, I would like to apologise in advance and assure you that we will get to your bins as soon as we can.

“Both the council and Unite want to end this dispute as quickly as possible and continue to deliver the first-class refuse service the citizens of Birmingham deserve.”

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  1. Sas – quick question. When you say ” Put your rubbish out before 6pm on your normal collection day. ” is that definitely 6PM and not AM? I would have thought the latter.

    And as for Cllr Majid Mahmood – well one of his priorities is to make sure the council no longer does deals behind the backs of unions and expect to get away with it. Because now of course the cat is out of the bag and we, the council tax payers, have got to put up with this new disruption while also facing higher council tax bills next April.

  2. Well I live on Tessall Lane and our general waste collections have been missed for the last two Thursdays – as have all the collections on our side of the road from the Hanging Lane roundabout to where it joins the Bristol Road. I have reported both missed collections to the Council online and by phone. Both times they promised they would be collected within three days but nothing happened. With Christmas coming up if they aren’t collected this coming Thursday before the industrial action starts we could have a serious public health problem on our hands!
    Anyone else had a similar problem with getting missed collections picked up.

  3. Right o ile make sure i ram the bin so it makes it heavy summat else for um moan about lazy Bds. Birmingham council needs a good shake up get rid of the lot.

  4. What a joke. This payment the bin men are moaning about, I assume is a bonus? Are they really surprised they didn’t get it? They didn’t do their job, why should they get the same as those who actually worked?! So now they are going to strike and when they miss out on these payments next year, I suppose they will strike again. Do they not see a pattern? They can’t be that thick surely?! Seems like an excuse to have an extended Christmas break and then they will have the cheek to moan about having to work harder to clear the surplus waste. Jobsworths!

  5. An Update! Well our general waste bin wasn’t taken again, yesterday along with the rest of our side of the Tessall Lane, so it’s now 4 weeks since it was last emptied. I’ve reported the missed collection on all three occasions both online and by phone. Each time they said it would be collected the next day or three days later but nothing happened. Looks like the so called system for collecting missed collections is totally ineffective. Whoever is the manager at the Lifford Lane Site just seems to totally ignore the messages form the Council.
    Soon out stretch of the road will be a happy hunting ground for rats, foxes, stray dogs etc.
    And this is before the industrial action actually officially starts!

  6. GG: if your general refuse hasn’t been collected for a month. this is a systemic failure not linked to current industrial action which you need to highlight
    Also, bear in mind that if Bloor Homes get the Secretary of State’s approval to build 800 homes on the site of the golf course, the increased traffic on Tessall Lane would make refuse collection almost impossible. Presumably, you know that BCC also agreed to forming a three-lane section beyond the roundabout, without bothering to consult residents, to ‘mitigate’ the increase. This would be in addition to the Longbridge Connectivity works.


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