Potential Edinburgh bin strike will see ‘rubbish pile up in the streets during Festival’, warns union

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
Edinburgh could see mountains of rubbish pile up on the streets again this summer

Rubbish will pile up on the streets of Edinburgh again during the Festival if waste workers vote to strike, a union has said.

The warning comes as Unison, Scotland's largest local government union, notified City of Edinburgh Council that official strike ballot papers will be sent out next Monday (June 10).

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The union says the current pay offer from Cosla to local government workers falls significantly short of what they deserve, and well below the pay claim that unions submitted earlier this year.

In the summer of 2022, mountains of rubbish accumulated in many streets in the Capital after nearly two weeks of strike action by workers. The city’s waste workers walked out on a dispute over pay, with the strike timed to coincide with the Festival season. A huge clean-up operation was needed when worked returned their bin lorries and street sweepers.

Unison Edinburgh branch secretary, David Harrold, said: “If workers vote to strike, rubbish will pile up on the streets again at the Edinburgh Festival – one of Scotland’s truly global events.

“The last thing anyone wants to do is take strike action, but local government workers deserve a fair increase to stop their pay lagging behind inflation and other sectors in the economy. This is about more than just waste workers, we are standing together for fair pay for every council worker in the country.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

UNISON regional organiser Greig Kelbie said: “I would urge every waste worker in the ballot to look for their ballot envelope and return it as soon as possible. We need to send a clear and resounding message that we demand a fair deal for all council workers. Together, we can make a difference for every council worker who deserves fair pay.”

Council Leader Cammy Day said: “We’re aware of the potential for industrial action this summer by trade unions. My priority is delivering good quality public services for the people of Edinburgh all year round but clearly we want to prevent a repeat of the disruption that affected Scotland’s Capital city two years ago.

“We’ll be developing detailed contingency plans ahead of any potential strike action to minimise disruption to Council services should it go ahead. I would strongly urge the Scottish Government and COSLA to work with the unions to find a solution and avert any action.”

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.