Bin strikes spread as more workers walk out across Scotland

·4-min read

Bin strikes in Scotland have spread as workers walked out in more areas.

GMB Scotland members in 16 council areas are taking four days of action from Friday until Monday, coinciding with existing action in Edinburgh.

Unison members in waste and recycling also joined the strike action, walking out in eight council areas for four days from August 26.

It comes after Unite members working in waste services at 13 councils walked out on Wednesday, joining workers in Edinburgh who began strike action on August 18.

Rubbish in Edinburgh
Waste workers in Edinburgh have been on strike since August 18 (Jane Barlow/PA)

Unions have already rejected a 5% pay rise – funded in part with £140 million of Scottish Government cash – claiming it is insufficient in the face of rampant inflation and soaring bills.

GMB Scotland senior organiser for public services, Keir Greenaway, said: “GMB members are clear that they are not prepared to accept working poverty as an inevitability and their strike actions are a direct response to the failure of political leaders to realise this.”

Johanna Baxter, Unison Scotland head of local government, said: “Negotiations continue today (Friday) with Cosla to try and find a solution but, until we have an offer we can put to our members, strikes will continue. We need more money on the table and a pay offer fair to all council workers.”

Talks between local government body Cosla, trade unions and the Scottish Government took place on Thursday.

Speaking afterwards, Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: “Whilst the Scottish Government has no formal role in the negotiations, we continue to work collaboratively with Cosla and the trades unions and met them today for continued discussions.

“I welcome the commitment from all parties to continue talks to find a fair and sustainable settlement that will bring an end to the ongoing industrial action.

“I want to ensure an early resolution and that will only come about if there’s intense dialogue. The Scottish Government has facilitated that today.

“We are doing all we can within the resources available to us in the face of the cost-of-living emergency and have provided an extra £140 million on a recurring basis to support a higher pay award.”

Edinburgh’s waste workers in Unite are set to strike until August 30, while in the other 13 council areas industrial action will continue until August 31.

Unite members in waste services who are currently taking strike action will take another eight days of action from September 6 to 13, while a further five local authorities – Aberdeenshire, Dumfries and Galloway, East Dunbartonshire, Fife and North Ayrshire – will join the second phase of strike action.

The union’s members in schools and early years services across seven councils – Angus, Dundee, East Renfrewshire, Glasgow, Inverclyde, North Lanarkshire, and South Lanarkshire – are also scheduled to take strike action from September 6 to 9.

People take part in a trade union pay protest
People take part in a trade union pay protest on Buchanan Street, Glasgow (Jane Barlow/PA)

Glasgow City Council said on Thursday its nurseries, primaries and additional support for learning (ASL) schools will be closed from September 6 to 8 due to industrial action.

GMB Scotland waste and recycling members are taking strike action in Aberdeen City, Angus, Dundee, East Ayrshire, East Lothian, Falkirk, Glasgow, Inverclyde, Highland, Midlothian, Orkney, South Ayrshire, South Lanarkshire, West Lothian, Perth and Kinross and North Lanarkshire.

It said four more days of strikes in waste and recycling services will run from Wednesday September 7 to Saturday September 10, alongside three days of strike action on September 6, 7 and 8 involving GMB schools and early years services members in Glasgow City and East Renfrewshire councils.

Unite waste services members are currently striking in Edinburgh, Aberdeen City, Angus, Dundee, East Ayrshire, East Lothian, East Renfrewshire, Falkirk, Glasgow, Highland, Inverclyde, South Ayrshire, South Lanarkshire and West Lothian.

Unison waste and recycling members are striking in Aberdeenshire, Clackmannanshire, East Renfrewshire, Glasgow, Inverclyde, North Lanarkshire, Stirling and South Lanarkshire.