A move to investigate 'privatising' Birmingham's failing bin service has been defeated.

True to their 2018 manifesto pledge the Liberal Democrat group - the second largest opposition behind the Conservatives - tabled a Full Council motion yesterday (Tuesday, February 5) for the council to 'proceed with hard market-testing to outsource the waste department.

Tabling the proposal, group leader and deputy leader Cllrs Jon Hunt (Perry Barr) and Roger Harmer (Acocks Green), argued that the service should be split up into three contracts around the biggest depots in Perry Barr, Lifford Lane and Redfern.

Councillor Jon Hunt pictured with bin bags during the bin service strike.
Councillor Jon Hunt pictured with bin bags during the bin service strike.
 

Cllr Hunt said the 'pragmatic' idea would reduce the risk of equal pay problems and adding that the council would 'no longer be held hostage' by the unions.

He stated that all administrations had been 'scared of the unions ability to cause disruption' adding that the current Labour council 'was the most conflicted of all'.

It comes amid the latest dispute between the council and Unite's 300-plus workforce which will be striking two days a week from Tuesday, February 19.

The row is council payments to GMB workers.

Cllr Hunt said: "The service is pretty well impossible for anyone to manage at the moment, it's unmanageable. It's time the council recognises and did something about this very, very deep rooted problem.

"It is time for the administration to grasp this, let go of the service and let's get rid of the albatross that's hanging around the neck of this great city."

Councillor Deirdre Alden pictured on Gillot Road, Edgbaston which has problem with wheelie bins
Councillor Deirdre Alden pictured on Gillot Road, Edgbaston which has problem with wheelie bins
 

Cllr Deirdre Alden (Cons, Erdington), shadow member for clean streets, waste and recycling, branded the current service a 'shambles' but did not support the motion arguing the service needed investing in first.

She said: "We can't just wave a magic wand and get new depots, a new workforce and new vehicles

"If we outsource we won't be getting an outsourced service, we'll be getting our outsourced service."

A Labour amendment to the motion was passed by the controlling group which took out any reference of outsourcing and declared to continue efforts to resolve the latest dispute.

Councillor Brett O'Reilly.
Councillor Brett O'Reilly.
 

Cllr Brett O'Reilly (Lab, Longbridge and West Heath), who had only been appointed as bins chief earlier in the meeting following last month's resignation of Cllr Majid Mahmood, said: "It's not in anyone's interests to use worlds like privatisation during this sensitive time when we are trying to negotiate with the unions.

"It will do nothing to help industrial relations."

While council leader Ian Ward (Shard End) declared privatisation was 'not a silver bullet' and added: "The idea that public is bad and private is good does not stand up to scrutiny and that is why it will not be supported by this Labour council."