Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Edinburgh cleansing workers to begin pay dispute strike action

Unite members are to take part in the strike (Liam McBurney/PA)
Unite members are to take part in the strike (Liam McBurney/PA)

Cleansing workers at the City of Edinburgh Council will begin eleven days of strike action from Thursday.

Workers at waste and recycling depots across the city have rejected a formal pay offer from councils body Cosla of 3.5%.

A rally is expected to take place at the City of Edinburgh Council Chambers at 9.30am on Thursday to coincide with the strike beginning.

Members of Unite and GMB unions will walk out over the pay offer, described as “paltry” by Unite general secretary Sharon Graham.

Unite union set for first female general secretary
Sharon Graham criticised the pay offer (Sharon Graham/PA)

She said: “Unite’s local government representatives have rejected the paltry offer of 3.5% from Cosla.

“The offer is nowhere near good enough. Council leaders across Scotland including Edinburgh and Glasgow are publicly on the record acknowledging this reality, so why should our members even consider it?

“We make no apologies for standing up for our members because they deserve better than what they are getting from the politicians. Unite will always defend the jobs, pay and conditions of its members.”

Both unions expect the strikes to impact the ongoing Edinburgh International and Fringe festivals.

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.

Scottish Labour conference 2015
Gary Smith, general secretary of the GMB, who will take strike action in Edinburgh (Andrew Milligan/PA)

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

“Tomorrow’s 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.”

Council leader Cammy Day said there are discussions about clean-up operations for after the strike gets under way.

Cammy Day
Cammy Day said he wants the dispute resolved quickly (City of Edinburgh Council/PA)

He said: “It’s now looking increasingly likely that industrial action will go ahead here in Edinburgh and in other cities across the country.

“Together with my fellow council leaders, I’ll continue to press the Scottish Government to resolve this as quickly as possible.

“I firmly believe that all council colleagues deserve to be paid fairly for the work they do and have every right to take this action and have their voices heard.

“As the lowest funded council in Scotland, it’s time for the Scottish Government to properly fund our capital city and its services.”

Strikes across 14 other local authorities in Scotland will follow from August 24 until August 31.

A spokesperson for the Scottish Government said: “As the employers, these pay negotiations are a matter for local authorities and unions – the Scottish Government has no formal role.

“We urge Cosla to urgently reconsider its position and match the Scottish Government’s additional £140 million that would be required to increase the pay offer to 5%.

“The Scottish Government must balance a fixed budget with very significant competing demands as a consequence of the cost-of-living crisis and the inaction of the UK Government.

“The main tax levers are set for the whole year and cannot be changed. With no power to borrow for this spend, the extra £140 million has got to come from somewhere else within the budget and no more funding can be offered.”