Birmingham & Black Country

Birmingham bin row: Judge dismisses union injunction bid

Bags piled high in Tarry Road, Birmingham Image copyright PA
Image caption The latest industrial action follows a strike in the summer of 2017

A trade union has failed in its bid for a temporary High Court injunction in a dispute over refuse collections after a judge said granting it would "make a bad situation worse".

Unite had asked Birmingham City Council to stop sending out recycling lorries without an employee of a certain grade on board as it "breached" an agreement.

The council said the injunction would put "public health and safety at risk".

Dismissing the bid, a judge said the union should wait for the trial in May.

At the hearing in London, Judge Jason Coppel QC said granting the injunction would "directly impact" the council's ability to collect domestic waste and "would make matters worse, at least to some degree".

Union members previously said they were preparing to walk out two days a week as the council starts fortnightly collections from 18 February until the latest dispute is resolved.

Speaking after the ruling, a council spokesman said it has had to introduce a contingency plan to provide a waste service to residents, adding that it rejects "misleading claims" over the existence of the "leading hand role", which it says was replaced by a waste reduction collection officer role in November 2017.

"We invite Unite the union to reconsider their position as a matter of urgency," the spokesman said.

Assistant general secretary of Unite Howard Beckett said the union was nevertheless "pleased the judge has recognised that there needs to be a full trial held".

Unite workers went on strike for three months in summer 2017 in a dispute that saw tonnes of rubbish piled up on streets.

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