News   /   Society

Strike by waste workers in Scotland fills streets with garbage

Waste is overflowing from bins on a street amid a strike by waste services workers in Edinburgh, Scotland, August 26, 2022. (Photo by Reuters)

A strike by Scottish refuse workers over a pay dispute continues in Edinburgh, resulting in piles of rubbish and overflowing bins in the city center.

The city’s refuse workers started a 12-day strike on August 18 in an attempt to force Scottish council leaders to improve on a “derisory” 3% pay offer.

The strike is set to continue until Tuesday, a day after the city's international arts and Fringe festivals ends. The festivals run through most of August and draw millions of visitors to the Scottish capital.

"Thousands of tourists visiting the city for the ... Fringe festival getting the wrong impression of this great city," a Twitter user wrote on Friday, posting pictures of mounds of waste near Edinburgh's Royal Mile thoroughfare.

Similar strikes have begun in more than a dozen other regions including Aberdeen and Scotland's largest city, Glasgow. Refuse workers’ strikes are due to spread to other areas, with nursery and school workers taking part early next month.

No bin strike deal yet as talks continue

The latest development comes as pay negotiations between local authorities and union leaders are continuing after a round of talks on Tuesday failed to reach any agreement.  

However, no agreement has yet been reached to end a wave of bin strikes which have affected two thirds of Scotland's council areas.

Waste is overflowing from bins on a street amid a strike by waste services workers in Edinburgh, Scotland, August 26, 2022. (Photo by Reuters)

Trade union leaders have accused the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (Cosla), the umbrella body for the country’s 32 councils, of failing to grasp the severity of the cost of living crisis.

The discussions are focusing on a new deal for the lowest-paid workers, with BBC Scotland being told that no deal is imminent but "slow progress" is being made.

The three unions, Unison, Unite and GMB, have urged councils to agree to a £3,000 flat rate pay award, which they say would significantly help lower-paid workers. After initially offering 2% and then 3.5%, Cosla’s latest offer is 5%, with a very slightly higher rate for the very lowest paid.

BBC Scotland correspondent Jamie McIvor said the fact that negotiations are continuing is a positive sign, adding that "There is the possibility of talks continuing into the weekend or Monday.”

"The councils are very sympathetic to the claims being made by the unions, they understand the cost of living crisis and what that means for so many of their staff,” McIvor said.

"It is that question of what councils can actually afford to pay, even with the extra £140 million they have been given by the Scottish government," he said.

Earlier this week, Deputy First Minister John Swinney described the bin situation in Edinburgh as already being "deeply concerning" for public health.

He said the latest round of talks is aimed at ensuring there is "intense dialogue" around resolving the dispute, adding, "I do hope that leads to substantive progress."

Edinburgh's city council has also said it is preparing a plan to start cleaning up immediately once the strikes end.

Press TV’s website can also be accessed at the following alternate addresses:

Press TV News Roku