1. ITV Report

Bin strikes are set to continue after talks break down

The dispute has entered its third week Photo: ITV News Central

Binmen in Birmingham are set to extend ongoing strike action into September following a failure to reach agreement with council bosses.

The extension of strike action means thousands of residents already affected will continue to see overflowing wheelie bins left uncollected, or picked up days late, for weeks.

The dispute has been ongoing for the past three weeks and is over changes to working practices and the downgrading of supervisor jobs.

The trade union Unite says redundancy notices were sent to staff, mainly the 133 leading hands, while talks are ongoing sparking fury among the members.

Unite says it has little option but to step up the action - members were already set on daily two-hour walk outs until August 4 as well as an overtime ban and work to rule - meaning bin lorries return to their depots for tea breaks.

New strike action means that from Friday, July 28, the refuse collection staff will down tools for three hours each day - from 6am to 8am, and then between 12.30pm and 1.30pm.

Unite regional officer Lynne Shakespeare said:

We met with council bosses last week in the hope of agreeing a form of words that would enable us to enter into meaningful negotiations to resolve the dispute.

That goodwill was not reciprocated by council bosses though, who instead engaged in game playing and withdrew from the process before proper talks could get underway.

Instead of seeking resolution, waste service management has sought conflict by ploughing on with its ill-conceived plans for the service and serving loyal workers with redundancy notices.

– Unite, Lynne Shakespeare

The council insists it is trying to over haul the service after over spending by £8.4 million on agency staff and overtime last year just to keep up with collections.

It has proposed scrapping a middle tier of supervisor, turning costly agency staff into full time employees, cancelling overtime and switching from a four to a five day week rota - with the working day reduced from nine to seven-and-a-half hours.

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