A petition calling for a council tax refund following six weeks of bin strike action has attracted TEN THOUSAND signatures from angry residents.
The petition on the change.org website was launched by Conservative councillor Alex Yip after growing anger caused by mountains of black bags and overstuffed wheelie bins lining the city streets.
Industrial action by binmen has severely disrupted collections and even a ward-by-ward blitz has failed to keep the streets cleared of rubbish.
This weekend saw the union Unite threaten to extend the industrial action until Christmas, while Labour council bins boss Lisa Trickett accused the striking binmen of ‘holding the city to ransom’.
Caught in the middle of the bitter dispute are hundreds of thousands of residents whose streets have been blighted by piles of rubbish, foul smells, rats and maggots.
And many have demanded a refund of part of their council tax used to cover the costs of the faltering bin service.
Sharon Gwatkin, of Sutton Coldfield, said: “I have been taking my own rubbish and recycling to tip for weeks now a service I pay Birmingham City Council to do.”
And resident Richard Petford added: “It is an absolute disgrace that there haven’t been any collections for the last month. Rats and other vermin are rife in areas where small children play. Personally I think all the workers should be sacked. It makes my blood boil.”
Taxes are not paid for a specific service and there is a legal obligation to pay them.
But Cllr Yip (Cons, Sutton New Hall) posted the petition on the change.org website and hopes to embarrass the council’s Labour leadership into a serious debate on the issue which has blighted the city this summer.
He said: “I hope that this will highlight to the Labour controlled council the significant impact that it is having on families, seek to give residents compensation for the substantial inconvenience caused, and focus the leadership’s minds on actually serving the city.”
The more people who sign the petition, the more chance the backbencher has of forcing the council leadership a public debate on the bins strike and service.
In an open letter to residents on Friday, cabinet member for bins Lisa Trickett said: “It hasn’t been easy, and I know your patience has been tested – we are all fully aware this is one of the few genuinely universal services we provide, so one missed collection is one missed collection too many.”
And added: “We apologise to the people of Birmingham for this situation and we will continue to talk with our trade union colleagues in a bid to try and resolve the dispute as soon as possible.”