Birmingham & Black Country

Birmingham bin strike: Volunteers to tackle rubbish pile-up

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Media captionBirmingham bin strike: 'I'm working next to a bin mountain'

Volunteers have been clearing streets of waste left piling up because bin collectors are on strike.

Refuse workers in Birmingham have been taking strike action in a dispute with the city council over job losses.

Trade union Unite has announced walkouts will continue until September after talks with the authority failed.

Birmingham City Council said it hoped to reached a resolution "sooner rather than later", as one community group took on cleaning the streets itself.

Why are refuse workers striking in Birmingham?

Naveed Sadiq from Bearded Broz, a group set up and run by volunteers from the Muslim community in Birmingham, was with members collecting waste from the Yardley area on Wednesday.

Image caption Workers will be on strike until at least September unless an agreement can be reached

Mr Sadiq said: "We've been doing charity and community stuff for the last five years, but this year we have stepped up the game because we believe there's more of a need to be involved in the community because we feel we are being let down by our leaders."

'We have a responsibility'

The group will team up with Balsall Heath Forum and use its truck, which will be filled and the waste taken to the Tyseley waste collection centre.

"We are going to try our level best to get as much as we can," added Mr Sadiq.

"We are quite upset that it has come to this, but I also feel that we have a responsibility."

Mr Sadiq added that response from the community was "immense" and that residents were "grateful that it's happening".

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The dispute centres on restructuring plans that trade union Unite says are threatening the jobs of more than 120 refuse collectors, while the council says plans will modernise the service and save £5m a year.

The council said it was working to tackle the backlog and get collections back on track.

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Media captionLong queues at tip as Birmingham bin strike continues

A spokesperson said: "Positive discussions are continuing to take place with the unions and we hope to be able to resolve this sooner rather than later."

In a statement Unite added: "There were talks earlier in the week with the chief executive of Birmingham council where there was a full and frank exchange of views.

"We regret that the people of Birmingham are suffering from the lack of collections but would ask them to step into the shoes of our members who have taken strike action as a last resort and at financial loss to themselves in order to protect their already low wages.

"We urge council bosses to resolve this dispute before it escalates further."

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