1. ITV Report

Council leader in talks with union over Birmingham bin dispute

The dispute over Birmingham's bin collection service is now in its seventh week. Credit: ITV News Central

Talks have been taking place today between Birmingham City Council leader John Clancy and the union Unite to try to resolve the bitter dispute over changes to the city's bin collection service.

ITV News Central has been told the talks are being held at the conciliatory and arbitration service Acas.

Refuse workers have been striking for seven weeks over changes to working practices and the downgrading of supervisor jobs.

The council have had to bring in freelance crews, costing £40,000 a day, in order to clear the backlog.

In a bid to resolve the dispute, the council asked Unite to come to talks at Acas last week.

Howard Beckett, Unite's Assistant General Secretary, confirmed that "positive talks" were taking place, and that it hoped to "make meaningful progress urgently".

Unite has warned that strikes could continue until Christmas. Credit: ITV News Central
  • Why are refuse collectors striking in Birmingham?

The dispute between Unite and Birmingham City Council is centred on changes to bin worker's responsibilities.

Grade 3 workers are currently responsible for health and safety at the back of the lorry - checking they and the public are safe.

The council want drivers to take on this role - with CCTV and a monitor in the cab. It would mean the grade 3s would then be a grade 2, who are paid less.

The council have argued that any of the grade 3s can switch to another job in the authority without losing pay.

However, Unite has said concerns over health and safety and loss of pay are a line in the sand.

The dispute is over changes to bin worker's responsibilities. Credit: ITV News Central

Refuse collectors are currently striking for three times a day for an hour a time.

Unite has warned that industrial action could continue until Christmas unless a resolution is found.

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