Birmingham bin strike costing city '£40,000 a day'

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Media caption,

Uncollected rubbish is piling up on city streets

Birmingham's bin strike is costing £40,000 a day, the city council has said.

The authority is using agency staff and contractors to help clear the backlog as the dispute enters its seventh week.

Councillor Lisa Trickett, the city's environment boss, said the authority hoped to find a resolution to the "challenging" situation this week.

The Unite union has warned the action could continue until Christmas unless a "fair deal" is negotiated.

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Councillor Lisa Trickett said other public services were being put at risk due to the dispute

Ms Trickett, cabinet member for clean streets, recycling and environment, said a contractor had been brought in to carry out an evening collection at tower blocks.

She added a number of agency staff were also being used, with the council facing a basic daily cost of £40,000 due to the action.

"We will look for a resolution this week, we have opened the door and said join us for discussions at [conciliation service] Acas," she said.

"We have agreement on some key areas, it is a case of the union coming and joining us and actually finding a way forward.

"We have to get this bin service back. It's not just the bin service that's suffering, other public services are put at risk by the cost of this strike action."

Image caption,
Refuse workers have been striking since 30 June, leading to a backlog of bin collections

On Friday, the union said it was balloting refuse collection members to renew its industrial action mandate, which could result in more strikes after the present round ends on 21 September.

The council said it was "very disappointed" by the warning and said Unite was "effectively holding the city to ransom".

The conflict centres on restructuring plans that Unite says are threatening the jobs of more than 120 refuse collectors.

The council says plans will modernise the service and save £5m a year.

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