Dispute goes on

More bin strikes planned as pay offer rejected

A clear-up begins today (pic: Terry Murden)

More bin strikes are planned after Unite and the GMB trade unions rejected the latest pay offer from local government body Cosla. Unison said it would put it to its members.

Edinburgh Council said additional resources would be deployed to support the clean up which began today but is only likely to be a temporary respite for householders unless a deal is reached in the coming days.

The £1,925 uplift from Cosla matched the rise offered to council workers in England, but only part of this payment was consolidated into staff salaries. The rest would be given as one-off cost of living payments.

Unions said this means lower-paid staff would not benefit as much as those on higher wages.

Unite’s industrial officer Wendy Dunsmore said: “In real terms it leaves the lowest paid workers no better-off and a significant proportion of the offer does not enhance overtime, allowances or pensions.”

Mark Ferguson of Unison’s local government committee said strike action was a “last resort”.

GMB Scotland senior organiser for public services Keir Greenaway said: “A flat rate award is a key demand from unions to ensure more consolidated money goes into the pockets of frontline workers and not the highest paid in our councils. COSLA knew this but instead tabled this offer as an across-the-board percentage rise that only feathers the nests of service directors.

“This was unacceptable to our local government committee members. It’s not credible that in the grip of the biggest cost-of-living crisis in forty years, and with inflation and energy bills soaring, a head of service gets four times the consolidated increase than a bin collector, cleaner or carer.

“That’s why we have written to COSLA again this evening urging them to return to talks as soon as possible and to negotiate a new offer based on a flat rate increase. If they don’t do this, then when our committee reconvenes tomorrow, we will outline our plans to fully consult GMB members.”

The Scottish government has given an additional £140m to councils to help fund a pay increase for staff.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney also said a further £200m would be offered over two years to provide a cost of living payment to workers earning below £39,000.

Mr Swinney added: “No deal is perfect, and I wish we could go further, but this deal does offer significant increases for those on low pay.”

Cosla said it was disappointed that unions had turned down an offer that was at the “absolute extremes” of affordability.



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