Birmingham Bin Strike Update | Redbrick | University of Birmingham

Birmingham Bin Strike Update

Selly Oak has been the victim of a bin strike this summer, causing colossal disruptions to students and residents living in the area

It’s been a dominant feature in the discussion amongst students since transitioning back to university this month. The strike was a result of the industrial action carried out following a dispute between Birmingham City Council and the refuse workers union, Unite. They claimed restructuring plans threatened the jobs of over 120 staff while the council said plans will modernise the service and save £5m a year. The whole scheme is fundamentally based around saving money.

On May 23rd Unite announced that they were not satisfied with the council’s plans and called for a vote to decide on industrial action. Strike action has therefore been in play since 30th June following an inability to come to any form of agreement. Workers organised 2-hour stoppages to bin collections. A temporary suspension of the strike action was negotiated briefly in August but was resumed on 1st September.

'Every street was a complete mess, I’m just glad it happened whilst it was quiet'

Since then, this has resulted in an amalgamation of abandoned waste, littered streets and unpleasant aromas in Selly Oak, as well as other parts of Birmingham. Needless to say it has been a frustrating turn of events for students who have continued to live in Selly Oak over the course of the summer months. Student Luke Garrett, explained how it’s been an absolute nightmare for students who have continued to live at uni over summer. He stated, ‘every street was a complete mess, I’m just glad it happened whilst it was quiet’.

However, this week many students will have been awoken by the sound of bin lorries making their way back down the streets of Selly. Birmingham City Council has stated that normal service has now resumed and as of the 20th September, the bin strike has been suspended. The council has now begun the process of clearing the remaining rubbish that has accumulated over the past weeks and months. New council leader Ian Ward has said sorting out the bin dispute is ‘top priority’. In terms of overflowing bins, additional bags of rubbish will be collected if they are suitably bagged and are the result of a missed collection.

New council leader Ian Ward has said sorting out the bin dispute is 'top priority'

The waste service in Birmingham is the most expensive when compared with other major cities and has the lowest recycling levels. The bin service went £11.9 million over budget in 2016-17. The council increased the budget by £5.7m for the 2017-18 financial year, however, it must make changes in order to stay within the revised budget.

As of 20th September, Birmingham’s bin strike has been suspended after the High Court granted an interim injunction against the council's bid to make workers redundant. A trial to determine whether the council acted unlawfully when issuing redundancy notices is set to take place in November.

To find out more about the daily collections or if you have any further queries go to the Birmingham City Council Website.

I'm a final year Law with Business student and this is my first year writing for RedBrick. (@gracelynskey)


11th October 2017 at 11:00 am