Strikes set to continue as union rejects council offer

·2-min read

Strikes in cleansing and education are set to go ahead next week after a union rejected the latest offer from local authorities.

Following negotiations over the weekend, Unite’s local government committee outright rejected an offer from council umbrella body Cosla.

The deal, according to the union, included a non-recurring 5% payment to staff which would range from £989 to £2,000.

Cosla has not confirmed the terms of the deal.

As a result of the rejection, planned strike action across the country in education and cleansing next week will go ahead unless a deal can be reached ahead of time.

Ongoing action by cleansing workers in Edinburgh in recent weeks led to rubbish littering the streets of the capital during one of the busiest times of the year for tourism as a result of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, with staff slated to return on Tuesday.

Unite members in other authorities also walked out this weekend, with their return due for Wednesday of this week.

Wendy Dunsmore, the union’s industrial officer, said: “Unite has rejected outright the latest pay offer from Cosla.

“The structure of the offer continues to disproportionately and unfairly affect the lowest paid with the majority of those being women.

“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.”

“The offer remains unacceptable and it represents a waste of precious time.

“We understand the gravity of the situation across the country but equally our members are facing the worst cost-of-living crisis in a generation.

“Unite’s strike action remains scheduled for next week unless Cosla gets back to us with a credible offer which addresses our primary concerns.”

Cleansing workers strike
Overflowing bins on the streets of Edinburgh where cleansing workers from the City of Edinburgh Council are on strike (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Two of Scotland’s other main unions, Unison and GMB are also considering the new offer.

Earlier in the day, Health Secretary Humza Yousaf told the PA news agency he hoped for a resolution “sooner rather than later”.

He said: “Public Health Scotland have made the point about the public health impacts of the bin strikes.

“Nobody wants to see that, particularly when we’re showcasing cities like Edinburgh during the Fringe festival and we have tourists from across the world coming.”