Edinburgh bin strikes: Nicola Sturgeon hopes pay offer will end 'disruption' as waste piles up during Edinburgh festivals

Nicola Sturgeon has said she hopes a new pay offer to local government workers will end the “disruption” in Edinburgh – where a strike by council staff has left litter bins overflowing.

At the same time as tourists have been flocking to the Scottish capital to enjoy the summer festivals, cleansing staff working for Edinburgh City Council went out on strike on Thursday last week, as part of the protest over pay.

The walkout, the first in a series of protests planned by trade unions, is due to go on until August 30. Bins around the city are already overflowing with rubbish as a result of not being emptied.

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Waste is piling up in Edinburgh's streets due to strikes. Picture: Lisa Ferguson
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The action comes while Edinburgh is the “centre of the cultural world”, the First Minister said.

Ms Sturgeon stated: “Nobody wants to see the kind of disruption and impact of strikes that many people are witnessing in Edinburgh right now.”

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But she said she hoped the improved pay deal, which would see wages increase by 5 per cent, would resolve the dispute.

The local government body Cosla made the latest offer on Friday and, while unions have said they will consider the deal, they warned it is still significantly below the current rate of inflation.

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Alison Maclean of Unite noted: “While the 5 per cent offer is an improvement, it is important to emphasise that it comes at a time when the broader retail price index has now hit a 40-year high at 12.3 per cent.

“Unite’s local government committee will urgently consider this latest offer. At this juncture the strikes for next week continue as planned.”

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Ms Sturgeon, speaking during a visit to Aberdeen, said: “We live in a really challenging time with inflation in double figures right now, which is why the Scottish Government is determined to deliver – as far as we can and to facilitate as far as we can – fair pay deals.

“We’ve provided – and the councils are the employers of the workers that you’re referring to right now – we’ve provided more resources to local authorities to try to facilitate a fairer pay deal and I’m glad to see that Cosla has now put on the table a 5 per cent pay offer and I hope that now paves the way to these issues being resolved.”

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