Union warns of strike disruption to refuse collection in Edinburgh

A union has warned that there is a ‘real possibility’ of disruption to refuse collection services in the capital as workers prepare for five days of strike action over pay dispute.

Tuesday, 26th October 2021, 4:45 pm
Updated Tuesday, 26th October 2021, 5:08 pm
Edinburgh has seen problems with litter during the pandemic

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Bosses at Unite said fleet maintenance workers in Edinburgh will be among up to 200,000 council workers set to strike during COP26 in a new dispute over pay from November 8 to 12.

More than a dozen workers based at Russell Road depot, who repair the council’s fleet of bin lorries, will be called out to strike, meaning refuse collection vehicles will be impacted during the planned strike.

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It follows claims by Glasgow City Council’s leader claimed that Edinburgh has ‘much worse problems with litter’ than Glasgow as she announced that the council is dealing with fly-tipping ‘hotspots’ ahead of the COP26 summit.

One of the city’s most respected expert property developers has also blasted the council for failing to tackle problems in the city centre, amid mounting frustrations over dirty, littered streets.

Union chiefs warned it could be the start of an escalating period of action if employers don’t review their position, saying members are ‘at breaking point’ and claiming the current offer doesn’t bring the lowest paid workers up to £10 per hour.

Wendy Dunsmore, Unite industrial officer, said: “It’s dreadful that council workers are paid such a low wage.

"There’s a real possibility refuse collection services in the capital will be disrupted during the strike action. It will be fleet maintenance workers striking and they repair the bin lorries and other council vehicles so services could be impacted. Around fifty per cent of bin lorries are owned by the council.

“Unite’s members across eleven local authorities will be taking targeted strike action due to the abject failure by COSLA and the Scottish Government to pay workers a fair and decent wage. Our members will no longer tolerate being treated as the poor relation in our public services.”

A Council spokesperson said: “Unlike councils in other areas where numerous services are likely to be impacted by strike action, only a very small number of our colleagues are planning to take part in industrial action next month. We are developing robust contingency arrangements, including reprioritising work plans for the affected service, to make sure we keep any impact to an absolute minimum.”

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