Redundancy-threatened Birmingham binmen have shunned two council run job fairs aimed at finding alternative jobs at the same pay grade, it has emerged.

The fairs, at the Alexander Stadium, saw a range of 124 council jobs, including park grounds keeper and housing estate caretaker, put on the table for the 113 bins staff currently at risk of redundancy.

Downgrading of 113 jobs is a key issue in the ongoing bins dispute which has seen a month of strike action and Birmingham’s streets piled high with uncollected rubbish.

Those staff face a pay cut of about £4,000 if they wish to remain in the refuse collection service, but the council has found suitable permanent jobs in other departments at their existing pay level as well as more which would mean a promotion and pay rise.

Rubbish piling up on Belle Walk, Moseley, during the binmen strike
Rubbish piling up on Belle Walk, Moseley, during the binmen strike

And a boycott by the majority of bins staff, who are fighting to keep their current jobs, means that only a handful showed up to the jobs fairs.

On the Birmingham Mail’s Facebook page, several readers claiming to be binmen, or related to binmen, said most of the jobs are temporary or would soon be made redundant leaving them no better off.

But council bosses vehemently denied this. The majority of jobs being advertised at the fair were in the parks, cemeteries and housing departments, but there were also some roles such as with the council’s emergency planning team - which deals with floods and evacuations like May’s unexploded bomb in Aston.

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Binmen have only until August 7 to bid for the jobs before they are opened up to other council staff - but, as a result of the boycott, only a handful showed up to the jobs fairs.

Leslie Aliss from the council’s place directorate said: “These are permanent frontline jobs for which we believe our refuse collection staff would be well suited.”

She said: “Binmen have valuable skills, they have experience dealing with the public while working on a frontline service. Although there have been cuts and austerity we still provide a wide range of services and their skills are needed throughout the council.”

She added that training, such as HGV driving and IT skills would be provided to help them adjust to new jobs.

Asked about the apparent boycott - she said that the dispute is a parallel issue. “Here we are trying to do something positive, showing how we can help people whose jobs are being made redundant.”

Among the roles being advertised are housing caretakers and housing officers, who visit tenants and help them with a wide range of issues. There are also grounds maintenance roles with the parks department, some jobs in the city’s cemeteries and a number of jobs on the street sweeping service.

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