Birmingham & Black Country

Bin row: What's going to happen to Birmingham's rubbish?

Household rubbish begins to pile high on the streets of Alum Rock in Birmingham in August 2017 Image copyright Christopher Furlong/ Getty Images
Image caption Fortnightly bin collections are set to get underway in Birmingham while the dispute between the council and unions continues

As the latest dispute between Birmingham's bin workers and the city council rumbles on, residents are set to see changes in how their rubbish is collected.

The council is bringing in a contingency plan in a bid to keep the streets clean while industrial action continues.

When will this start?

Image copyright Mike Kemp/Getty Images
Image caption What does the ongoing Birmingham bins dispute mean for residents?

From 18 February, Birmingham City Council is starting fortnightly collections, to last until its dispute with unions Unison and Unite is resolved.

Usually, city residents get a weekly general waste collection and a recycling service every two weeks.

During the temporary service people should put both bins out on their recycling collection day.

Meanwhile, union members are preparing to walk-out two days a week.

Unite said its strikes will take place on 19, 22, 27, 28 February and 4, 8, 12, 13, 21, 22 March.

While Unison says the first strike by its members will be on 22 February.

What can I expect?

Image caption The Bearded Broz stepped in to help local residents clear their rubbish during the 2017 Birmingham bin strikes

While the contingency is under way, crews will dispose of rubbish "in the most effective way possible" to keep the streets clean, the council said.

It said it may mean general waste and recycling are mixed.

The bins will be collected seven days a week between 06:00 and 22:00 GMT

Because of that, people should leave their bins out if they are not picked up by their usual collection time.

During the dispute, two or three sacks of "side waste" can be left out alongside bins and people can also use the city's household recycling centres.

How are the council letting people know?

Information about the changes are being shared through the council's social media and on its website.

Anyone unsure of their recycling collection day can find out by visiting its "check your collection day" page.

Why has this happened?

Image copyright Christopher Furlong/ Getty Images
Image caption Rubbish piles like this in Alum Rock were common during the 2017 strikes

Unite workers went on strike for three months in summer 2017 in a dispute over job losses, which saw thousands of tonnes of rubbish piled up on streets.

In December 2018, workers voted to take new industrial action over claims Unite members had been denied a council payment made to GMB members who did not participate in the strikes.

The council and GMB said the payment was a settlement because GMB was not consulted during the talks that ended the action.

Unite then announced the action would be "escalated" to strikes, saying it had not had a "satisfactory response" from the council.

Both sides are now pursuing legal action.

After its last offer to the unions was rejected the city council said it had been left with no option but to seek legal action to end the industrial dispute.

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