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Clean-up starts as waste staff return to work after first wave of strikes

Clean-up starts as waste staff return to work after first wave of strikes

Clean-up operations have begun as local authority waste staff across Scotland return to work, bringing an end to the first wave of strike action.

Workers from the Unite, Unison and GMB unions walked out as part of a dispute over pay as negotiations failed to reach an acceptable settlement.

The action coincided with a similar strike in Edinburgh that left the streets littered with rubbish during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

But the disruption is likely to return next week – and spread to schools – if a new offer is not accepted by the unions.

Employees in Edinburgh returned to work on Tuesday, while those in the other council areas affected – around two-thirds of local authorities in Scotland – returned on Thursday.

However Glasgow City Council warned residents to expect a “significant delay to all collections” due to the “extensive backlog”.

Aberdeen City Council also said there is a large backlog of work and warned “there may still be disruption to normal services”.

The latest offer, made by local authority body Cosla on Monday, was rejected as unions urged it to make a flat-rate pay offer as opposed to one based on a percentage increase to current wages.

According to the Scottish Government, the deal included a payment of at least £1,925 for council staff, with those earning £20,000 receiving £2,000.

But Unite said the payment could be as low as £989 for some employees, with 85% receiving between £1,925 and £2,000, and any payment would not be recurring.

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said all options in making more funding available amid the strikes have been “exhausted”.

With the latest offer being turned down, waste workers look set to be joined by school support staff, including cleaners, caterers, janitors and pupil support assistants in action set to take place next week.

Hundreds of schools will close as a result of the action across the country for three days.

Content provided by Radio NewsHub. Originally published on 2022-09-01 08:25:00.

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