Edinburgh’s streets have seen bin bags, takeaway boxes and plastic bottles piled high as the city’s 12-day bin strike continues.
Commuters were forced to step around large piles of detritus to get to Waverley Station on Monday morning - day five of the industrial action - while seagulls pecked around for scraps in the city’s famous Old Town area.
The strike by Unite and GMB union members began on 18 August and is due to finish on 30 August – overlapping with the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
As thousands of Fringe festival fans travelled to the Scottish capital, local business owners have expressed concern over how streets strewn with rubbish will make the city look.
Recycling centres have also been closed as part of the industrial action, with locals being advised to store their recyclables at home.
There are also planned bin strikes in Glasgow due to start this week, with the city's council warning of 'widespread disruption'.
Cosla, an umbrella organisation working for Scottish local authorities, previously offered bin collectors pay rises of 2% and 3.5%, both of which have been rejected.
Inflation hit 10.1% last week, and has been forecast to hit 18.6% in January, so union leaders say offers currently on the table aren’t nearly enough to help with the cost of living crisis.
Bin strikes are also planned in England at the end of the month, with workers in Windsor and Maidenhead walking out from 31 August.
It is reported that more than half of Scotland’s 250,000 council workers are earning less than £25,000 a year for a 37-hour week.
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham described the most recent offer as ‘paltry’ and ‘nowhere near good enough’.
She added: ‘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.’
Watch: Britain endures summer of strikes amid soaring inflation and cost of living crisis
Unite regional officer Wendy Dunsmore added: ‘We have the pathetic spectacle of COSLA and the Scottish Government doing a Hokey Cokey dance as they blame each other for the unacceptable pay offer. The fact is both of them are equally to blame.
‘Our members are fed-up with this politicking because all they want is an offer put on the table which reflects their hard work, and helps them deal with the cost of living crisis hurting families across Scotland.’
Since the industrial action was launched Cosla increased its offer to an average of 5% for council workers, with pay jointly funded by local authorities and the Scottish government.
In addition, Cosla said the Scottish Local Government Living Wage would be raised to £10.50. It added: ‘Leaders have reaffirmed the need for a discussion with Scottish Government on how they can support Councils by providing flexibilities and long term funding support. This will limit the risk to public services and the impact on communities.’
Unite criticised the body for taking ‘over five months to make an offer which we can take to our members for consideration.’
But until an agreement is reached, the strikes will carry on, and rubbish will continue to pile up during one of Edinburgh’s busiest times of the year.
Garry Clark, of the Federation of Small Businesses said: ‘It's our shop window to the world. Edinburgh has reopened. We want to encourage people to spend time out and about, not being put off by all the rubbish.
Yahoo News UK has contacted City of Edinburgh Council for comment.