Volunteers helping to clear uncollected waste during a long-running bin strike have been labelled a “scab army”.
The Bearded Broz, who have cleared 45 tonnes of waste in Birmingham during the six-week strike, were criticised in the socialist Morning Star.
The group said it respected workers, but wanted to clean the streets.
It comes as action escalates on Friday, with the three-hour stoppages being split into three separate hour-long blocks, spaced out across the shift.
In each block, workers will return to their depot, which they will also do for breaks.
Previously, workers had taken a two-hour stoppage from 06:00-08:00 and a one-hour stoppage between 12:30-13:30.
The piece published in the Morning Star said: “The community group, known as Bearded Broz, are encouraging people to join their scab operation as they undermine the strike by Birmingham City Council refuse workers over job losses.”
However, Naveed Sadiq from the group, which was set up and run by volunteers from the Muslim community, said members had met with refuse workers, who said they “respected” the team for taking care of their areas.
Mr Sadiq said the respect was mutual: “We can see the work that they do and respect them for the work that they do.
“We don’t undermine them at all, we don’t have a personal agenda or a personal grief with the binmen. Our issue is, these are our streets and we’re gonna do something about it.
“If you want to call me a scab, that’s fine.”
The council said positive discussions were continuing with unions and it had visited over three quarters of the city’s 8,200 streets as part of its “operation to ensure all wards receive refuse collections during the industrial dispute”.
The BBC has contacted the Morning Star for comment.