Over one million black bags have been collected from the streets of Birmingham in the last six days as efforts continue to return refuse collection services to normal as quickly as possible.
In total around 1,108,800 bags have been collected since January 5, weighing in at 5,544 tonnes.
This waste was collected by a combination of regular crews ‘working to rule’ on weekdays and additional ‘casual crews’ who are currently being deployed seven-days-a-week to help clear the backlog.
Yesterday (Jan 10) 1,158 tonnes of black bags were collected – representing around 231,600 black bags cleared from the city’s streets.
Tonnage Collected (black bags only)
- Jan 5: 1,002
- Jan 6: 1,006
- Jan 7: 968
- Jan 8/9: 1,410
- Jan 10: 1,158
- Total: 5,544
Significant amounts of extra waste have also been deposited at the city’s five Household Recycling Centres (HRCs), where visitor numbers have more than doubled over the past week thanks to extended opening hours from 8am to 9pm everyday.
For the fortnight beginning 20th December 2010, 1309 tonnes of waste was deposited at the city’s HRCs – this compares to 1,054 tonnes in 2009-10 – an increase of 24%.
Images of the clear-up are available to download from the following link: http://www.flickr.com/photos/birminghamnewsroom/sets/72157625673291971/
Background to industrial action
- The dispute relates to a legal issue arising from the city council’s implementation of equal pay legislation.
- In June 2009 a tribunal Pre-Hearing Review ruled that the current pay and conditions of a small group of fleet and waste management staff may not meet equality laws and therefore should be revised.
- Doing nothing or leaving the current structure in place was not an option.
- The vast majority of 20,000+ staff affected by Pay and Grading have all signed their new contracts or settled any outstanding issues which arose.
- The case of these FWM staff is a very limited exception to the rule which, taking on board the tribunal’s findings, we are working with our legal and equalities advisors to address.
Who will be delivering services/agency and casual staff?
The council has developed contingency plans so that in addition to permanent staff, there are a number of agency and casual staff who we are able to call upon to assist the council to fulfil its statutory obligations under public health legislation.
How does pay in Birmingham compare to neighbouring areas.
Under the new pay structure, refuse collection Loaders working for Birmingham City Council will receive a basic salary of just under £20,000, and Drivers over £26,000. This compares favourably with neighbouring local authorities, for example Wolverhampton (Loader – £17,000 and Driver – £20,000) and Walsall (Loader – just under £20,000 and Driver – £22,000).
Are we still talking to unions?
Our door remains open to the trades unions and we would call on them to return to talks and end/avoid the disruption being caused to members of the public.
Will striking workers get paid overtime to ‘catch up’ work as in previous strikes?
No, it is not Birmingham City Council’s intention to pay overtime to any staff for work they should have carried out as part of their normal duties.