Edinburgh bin strike: Union warns waste will pile up as workers walk out

Waste will soon start piling up in Edinburgh’s streets, union leaders have warned as bin workers begin 12 days of strike action today.

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The walkout, which follows rejection of a 3.5 per cent pay offer, begins at 5.59am and is due to continue until 5am on Tuesday August 30.

A rally is set to be held outside the City Chambers at 9.30am to mark the beginning of the action. And early morning pickets are being mounted at the city’s three recycling centres at Bankhead, Craigmillar and Seafield.

Members of the Unite, GMB and Unison trade unions are taking part in the action which seeks a significantly improved pay offer for local government staff. The 3.5 per cent offer by local government umbrella body Cosla was roundly rejected. Yesterday the rate of inflation, as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI), rose to 10.1 per cent.

GMB Scotland organiser Kirsten Muat said: “Waste will pile up for the remainder of the festival and when people ask why we will tell them: GMB members are not prepared to accept working poverty in our local services as an inevitability even if our political leaders are.

“These strikes are a direct response to the failures of Cosla and the Scottish Government over the last six months to recognise the impact of this cost-of-living crisis on our members and to bring forward a pay offer worthy of their consultation.

“The 3.5 per cent tabled last week – a miserly lift on the previously rejected 2 per cent – is a pathetic response while our members struggle against double-digit inflation and energy bills rising to over £4,000 this winter.

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The unions rejected a 3.5 per cent pay offer - the rate of inflation now stands at 10.1 per cent.

“This strike is locked-in but if political leaders want to curtail its impact and avoid the prospect of more strikes across more councils in the weeks to come, then they must urgently make a significantly improved pay offer.”

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