Talks ongoing to end crippling Scotland bin strikes as more workers walk out

Talks are ongoing to end crippling bin strikes as workers in more areas across Scotland joined the walk out over pay.

GMB Scotland members in 16 council areas are taking four days of action until Monday, coinciding with existing action in Edinburgh.

Unison members in waste and recycling also joined the strike action, walking out in eight council areas for four days from Friday.

It comes after Unite members working in waste services at 13 councils walked out on Wednesday, joining workers in Edinburgh who began strike action on August 18.

Bins are overflowing in Edinburgh.

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Rubbish has been piling up in the streets of the Scottish capital, with Deputy First Minister John Swinney describing the situation as "deeply concerning" for public health.

Unions have rejected a 5 per cent pay rise, funded in part with £140 million from the Scottish Government, claiming it is insufficient in the face of rampant inflation and soaring bills.

It is understood talks between union leaders and Cosla, the council umbrella body, are now focused on boosting pay for the lowest earners.

GMB Scotland senior organiser for public services, Keir Greenaway, said: “GMB members are clear that they are not prepared to accept working poverty as an inevitability and their strike actions are a direct response to the failure of political leaders to realise this.”

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Johanna Baxter, Unison Scotland’s head of local government, said: “Negotiations continue today (Friday) with Cosla to try and find a solution, but, until we have an offer we can put to our members, strikes will continue.

"We need more money on the table and a pay offer fair to all council workers.”

Talks between Cosla and union leaders have now been taking place for three days in a row.

Meanwhile, workers in schools and nurseries are set to walk out next month as part of the same dispute.

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In a letter to parents, East Renfrewshire Council warned of school closures on September 6, 7 and 8.

Glasgow City Council has already told parents that all primary schools and nurseries will be forced to shut over those days.

Speaking on Thursday, Mr Swinney said: “Whilst the Scottish Government has no formal role in the negotiations, we continue to work collaboratively with Cosla and the trades unions and met them today for continued discussions.

“I welcome the commitment from all parties to continue talks to find a fair and sustainable settlement that will bring an end to the ongoing industrial action.

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“I want to ensure an early resolution and that will only come about if there’s intense dialogue. The Scottish Government has facilitated that today.

“We are doing all we can within the resources available to us in the face of the cost-of-living emergency and have provided an extra £140m on a recurring basis to support a higher pay award.”

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