Half of Scotland's councils set for summer bin strikes

Overflowing rubbish bins could be a common sight across Scotland again amid the threat of industrial action.

One of Scotland’s largest trade unions has voted in favour of strike action across half of the country’s councils.

Cleansing staff represented by Unite have backed industrial action in 16 local authorities amid an ongoing dispute over pay.

The union said the details of its plans will be released in the coming days but said the action could be as soon as two weeks away and would involve waste workers, street cleaners and recycling centre operators.

It said it had a mandate for strikes at Aberdeen City Council, Angus Council, City of Edinburgh Council, Dumfries & Galloway Council, Dundee City Council, East Ayrshire Council, East Renfrewshire Council, Fife Council, Glasgow City Council, Inverclyde Council, North Ayrshire Council, North Lanarkshire Council, Renfrewshire Council, South Ayrshire Council, Highland Council and West Lothian Council.

It comes after unions rejected a pay offer “outright” made to its members by the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA).

The 18-month deal, which covers the period April 1, 2024, to September 30, 2025, would see council staff get a 2.2% pay hike from April this year, with a further 2% increase at the start of October 2024.

Strikes are set to take place this summer across much of Scotland.STV News

Unison and GMB will also ballot their members on industrial action.

Graham McNab, Unite industrial officer, said: “Thousands of workers in cleansing and waste services are now on the brink of taking strike action in a matter of weeks. Our members are being left with no choice but to fight for fair pay.

“Council workers deserve to be treated with respect but instead they received a pitiful pay offer which was rejected outright by Unite.

“This situation is entirely in the hands of COSLA and the Scottish government who can resolve this dispute at any moment by making a significantly improved pay offer.”

Waste and recycling workers in Edinburgh who are members of Unison, Scotland’s largest local government union, were also balloted for industrial action until July 1.

Major international events such as the Edinburgh Fringe could be affected if that action goes ahead.

The last bin strike in 2022 saw rubbish pile high in the streets of towns and cities across the country following a dispute with refuse workers belonging to the Unison, Unite and GMB trade unions.

On Monday, GMB said its members in waste services across 13 councils have achieved a mandate for strike action.

Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Fife, North Lanarkshire, South Lanarkshire, Aberdeenshire, East Ayrshire, East Dunbartonshire, Inverclyde, Midlothian, Orkney Islands, Perth and Kinross, and Stirling are all affected.

The union said a repeat of strike action during the Fringe is “likely again” this year.

COSLA has been approached for comment.

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