Express & Star

Bosses hope to minimise disruption ahead of possible Sandwell bin strikes

Waste bosses in Sandwell say they will "look to keep any disruption to residents to a minimum" if bin workers go on strike at the end of the month.

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Serco, which runs waste services on behalf of Sandwell Council, said talks will continue to try and prevent the strikes from going ahead but preparations are being made if workers do walk out.

A date for the first strike has been set for Tuesday, August 31 and others would take place on the following three Tuesdays. Workers would also refuse to do any overtime during the period.

The row surrounds accusations of bullying and frustrations over working practices.

Sandwell Council and local politicians have urged both sides to come to an agreement and prevent widespread disruption for residents.

Iain Stockdale-Smith, senior contract manager at Serco, said any changes to collections would be would be announced through the borough council.

He said: "We have had many positive meetings with the GMB union and Unite over the last five weeks and we have all made significant progress on the issues raised.

"We are naturally disappointed to receive notification of planned industrial action from the GMB Union, however our next round of talks are already arranged for next week. We will continue to work in partnership to resolve the issues and hope the GMB will reconsider their decision prior to any action commencing.

“If the suggested industrial action does take place by GMB, we will look to keep any disruption to residents to a minimum and if any service changes are necessary, we will update residents via the Sandwell Council communications channels.”

A Sandwell Council spokesperson said: “This is a matter for Serco to resolve with their employees, however we hope that they can work with their employees and the trade union to resolve these matters quickly without disruption to our residents.”