Dear Nicola Sturgeon, Edinburgh Council workers threatening strike action deserve fair pay deal – Cammy Day

As we’ve basked in the summer sunshine over the past few weeks, the festival buzz has well and truly returned to the city with the International, Art and Fringe Festivals now well underway, as well as the newly launched Film and Book Festivals.

The Scottish Government needs to give fair funding to Edinburgh Council (Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
The Scottish Government needs to give fair funding to Edinburgh Council (Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Last week also saw the triumphant return of the Summer Sessions in Princes Street Gardens with performances from Tom Jones, Michael Kiwanuka, Simply Red, Simple Minds and Travis against what is surely the best backdrop in the world.

After hosting such fantastic music events, we were of course disappointed that Edinburgh wasn’t shortlisted as a potential host for next year’s Eurovision. An event of this scale is a wonderful opportunity and I wish the best of luck to shortlisted cities – our fingers are crossed for our neighbours Glasgow.

As Kyiv’s twin city, hosting the event in their honour would have been particularly poignant. In the six months since Putin began his atrocious war, we’ve supported 6,000 people from Ukraine through our welcome hub and now have at least 600 Ukrainians living with host families.

Around 800 passengers have boarded HMS Victoria in Leith Docks and they are receiving our support too as they settle here. On my recent visit to the ship, I was nothing but impressed by the quality of the facilities and crew on board.

It’s fair to say that Edinburgh’s response to everyone fleeing this horror has been one of warmth, kindness and humanity and I’m hugely proud of our Capital city. Residents have opened the doors to their own homes, volunteers continue to work day and night to help people arriving into the airport at all hours, and donations keep flooding in from people and businesses.

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With the cost of living spiralling, this is an increasingly worrying time for us all – particularly for those on the lowest of incomes, our older residents and neighbours who are vulnerable.

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I want to reassure readers that we’re looking ahead to this winter and putting plans in place to help us to help those at risk of fuel poverty.

It’s so important we tackle this crisis now and we’re already working with Changeworks, as we do every year, so that support is available to make homes warmer and more energy efficient.

Of course, these very real concerns are shared by many of our council colleagues and, with strike action still a very real possibility, my position remains firmly that they deserve to be paid fairly for the work they do, and I once again call on the Scottish Government to properly fund our Capital city and its services.

I won’t tire of pointing out that Edinburgh remains the lowest funded council in Scotland.

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At Friday’s Cosla meeting, Scottish councils agreed to increase the pay offer to one that they could afford and to call on the SNP/Green government to get around the table and use their substantial resources to pay for a fair pay increase for our hard-working colleagues here in Edinburgh and across Scotland.

Cammy Day is council leader and Labour councillor for the Forth ward