Union blasts council over bin collection cuts

Unite claims city's bin service is underfunded to the tune of 17 million.

Unite claims city's bin service is underfunded to the tune of 17 million.

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Unite has told Edinburgh Council bosses to stop attacking the city’s refuse workers, blasting "savage cuts" inflicted on staff in recent years.

The union is meeting with council mangers today to present research showing that the council’s environmental service is underfunded to the tune of about £17 million.

And they will demand that council members stop "scapegoating workers" for the effects of massive council cuts.

Peter Lawson, Unite's Edinburgh convener said: “Once you take into account the effect of inflation, and population growth, and the amount of tax that is being paid out to send refuse to landfill, we estimate that the service has seen a real-terms cut of at least £17 million since 2009.

“That’s a massive cut of around 16 per cent. And the real figure could be even higher, as the cost of fuel for council refuse lorries has been going up much quicker than inflation.

“Our members are at the front end of having to deal with those savage cuts. They earn thousands of pounds a year less than the average Scottish wage for doing a physically demanding job that is getting harder and harder with every year.

“Our message to Edinburgh council members is clear – the problem with your refuse service is the austerity cuts that have been made in Westminster and handed on by Holyrood.

“Attacking our members and threatening them with privatisation might be a way for politicians and senior executives to pass the buck, but it is helping no-one and it has to stop.”