Council pay talks to continue amid public health warning over waste

COSLA met on Saturday for the latest round of negotiations to end strikes which have left waste piling up on streets and schools on the brink of closure.

Council pay talks to continue on Sunday amid public health warning over waste STV News

Negotiations on a new pay deal for public sector workers will resume on Sunday amid mounting concerns over the public health impact of waste piling up on Scottish streets.

The Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) met on Saturday for further talks with unions over a wage rise for the lowest paid workers which would bring an end to more than a week of strikes in some areas.

Waste workers in Edinburgh are on day nine of an 11-day walkout over a “paltry” offer, while a further 20 council areas are also now undertaking industrial action.

School staff in some local authorities, including Glasgow, have balloted for strikes in early September if a flat-rate increase is not agreed before then.

Unions want a similar agreement to the one in place in England – where workers were given a blanket uplift of  £1,925.

It comes after Public Health Scotland (PHS) warned that streets may need to be “decontaminated” in an effort to avoid the risk of spreading disease.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney has already said the piles of rubbish building up throughout the capital are “deeply concerning”.

PHS warned “if organic waste builds up it can become a risk to human health”.

People are being advised to double bag items such as food waste and used nappies or put them in containers.

The health body said the impact of waste on health is “varied” and “may depend on numerous factors, including the nature of the waste and weather conditions that may accelerate decomposition of waste”.

It said: “There are some simple precautions which people can take in order to reduce the possible health impacts of waste.

“When handling waste at home, people should always wash hands thoroughly. Where possible, organic waste and medical waste should be stored in containers.

“If containers are not available, waste which is likely to rot or decompose should be double bagged.”

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