Birmingham & Black Country

Birmingham bin workers vote for industrial action over Christmas

Bin bags piled up
Image caption Thousands of tonnes of waste were left on Birmingham's streets in 2017, the last time bin workers took industrial action

Bin workers will take industrial action over Christmas in the latest twist in a dispute which saw rubbish pile up on Birmingham's streets last year.

Unite balloted its members in the city, after it claimed they had been denied a council payment made to GMB members who did not go on strike in 2017.

Workers voted for action short of a strike and will work-to-rule from 29 December, the union said.

Birmingham City Council has been approached for comment.

The union said the action would include members only working contracted hours and returning to base for breaks.

Unite assistant general secretary Howard Beckett said: "This was blatant blacklisting - an attempt by the council to prefer workers in a union that did not take industrial action.

"Unite members have no wish to inflict disruption and upset to the people of Birmingham, but they have no option but to take action to protect their collective rights."

In addition, Unite said it was taking the council to an employment tribunal over the payment allegations.

Image caption Unite said the strike action will begin on December 29

In documents, Unite said the nature of the payment was unclear.

GMB had said suggestions its members received extra payments for not taking strike action would be "inaccurate and misleading".

The 2017 strike lasted for three months and saw uncollected waste pile up on city streets and the then-council leader forced out.

It was called over the council's bid to "modernise" the service - and save £5m a year - threatened more than 100 jobs.

A new shift pattern was brought in for workers earlier this year as part of an agreement to end the dispute.

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