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Sandwell residents warned of bin collection disruption ahead of next week's strikes

Residents have been warned of possible disruption to bin collections during strikes starting next week.

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Some bin workers in Sandwell will walk out on Tuesday following a row over accusations of bullying and working conditions.

Talks have been held over recent weeks to try and prevent the strike action but it looks set to go ahead. The binmen work for Serco, which is contracted by Sandwell Council to run waste services in the borough.

The authority said its focus is to ensure disruption "is kept to a minimum".

Garden waste collections will be suspended from Monday to Friday to allow the remaining staff to concentrate on the collection of domestic waste and recycling bins.

On the day of the strike, council bosses said bin crews will prioritise domestic waste and recycling bin collections. However, households have been warned of possible delays.

Residents have been told to put their waste and blue lid recycling bins out as normal on their usual collection day during the strike period. Council bosses said if the bins in a particular street are not emptied on the usual day, they should be left out and they will be emptied as soon as possible.

Those who will not have garden waste collected and cannot wait until the next collection have been advised to go to the tip.

Further strikes are planned for the three following Tuesdays in September.

Iain Stockdale-Smith, senior contract manager for Serco, said: “We have had many positive meetings with the GMB Union over the last few months and significant progress has been made on the issues raised.

"Although we are naturally disappointed to receive confirmation of planned industrial action on August 31, we are pleased that this week’s meeting with the GMB Union, alongside mediator ACAS, has resulted in reconsideration of a full strike schedule.

“During official industrial action, the law prevents us from bringing in additional staff to replace those on strike, but we want to assure residents we will try to keep any disruption to a minimum and our teams will be working hard behind the scenes to organise the resources we have in the most effective way.”

Sandwell Council deputy leader Maria Crompton said: “We are disappointed to hear about strike actions taking place by some Serco employees.

“As a council we will be working hard to ensure that any disruption is kept to an absolute minimum for our residents and we hope that Serco is able to work with its employees and the trade unions to resolve the ongoing dispute without any further disruption to residents.”