Birmingham bin strike: 'Positive talks' chaired by Acas

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Image source, @outinbrum
Image caption,
Some residents in Northfield Road, Harborne, have marked their rubbish bags' "50th birthday"

Talks aimed at ending Birmingham's seven-week bin strike are making "meaningful progress", a union says.

Negotiations between representatives of Unite and the city council have been taking place at conciliation service Acas.

A Unite representative, who was in talks with council leader John Clancy, described the talks as "positive".

It would mark a breakthrough in the deadlock in the conflict about the council's restructuring plans.

The Labour-run council, which is using agency staff and contractors to clear the backlog, said the dispute was costing £40,000 a day.

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

Unite said the plans threatened the jobs of more than 120 refuse collectors, however the council said the move would modernise the service and save £5m per year.

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

But on Monday, Lisa Trickett, the city's environment boss, said the authority hoped to find a resolution this week.

Ahead of the Acas talks there was agreement between the authority and union "on some key areas", Ms Trickett said.

'Foxes and maggots'

"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," she said.

In a street in Harborne in south-west Birmingham, some residents dressed their rubbish bags with balloons and tape to mark 50 days since their last collection.

Adam Cartwright said the picture taken in Northfield Road had a received a lot of social media attention.

"We have foxes here at night and maggots crawling all over the bins," he said.

"If it gets to 60 days we might bring the cake out and have a street party.

"Actually nobody wants the street party because it's too smelly out there."

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