Waste workers strike escalates as Unite announces second wave of council strike action

Unite the union can confirm today (10 August) that its members across all waste services in 15 councils are to walk-out in response to a ‘pitiful’ 2 per cent local government pay offer. 

The days of strike action will begin on 24 August and end on 31 August.

It is estimated that around 1,500 Unite members across 15 councils will join their colleagues in City of Edinburgh Cleansing and participate in the second wave of strike action. Unite will be the only union involved in this phase of council strike action.

 The second wave of strike dates to hit all waste services in councils forms the next phase of a coordinated campaign to persuade the Scottish Government and COSLA to make a decent pay offer. 

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “Unite’s members play a crucial role in keeping Scotland’s bins emptied and streets clean and they have had enough of the procrastination between COSLA and the Scottish Government that has led us to where we are now. Our members across all councils will receive the union’s complete support until this dispute is resolved and a fair pay offer secured. Unite will always defends the jobs, pay and conditions of its members.

Unite regional officer Wendy Dunsmore said: “Council workers have had enough of sub-standard settlements and deserve a decent wage to sustain their families given the inflation predictions and soaring food and energy prices. The failure of both COSLA and the Scottish Government to work to bring an improved offer to the table that could have halted this action means any blame for where we are now should be directed back to them. Unite will not tolerate that local government workers are the consistent poor relations and members have now had enough.  We are calling once again on COSLA to make a fair and decent offer to workers now in order to avoid the forthcoming wave of strikes.”

There has been no indication as to how the additional £140 million funding for councils recently announced by John Swinney will be used and while it is Unite’s understanding that these monies are for local government workers that would include teachers.  Unite is calling on COSLA to make a fair and decent offer to workers now in order to avoid the forthcoming strikes.

It is reported that more than half of Scotland’s 250,000 council workers are earning less than £25,000 a year for a 37-hour week. Unite previously warned all new council leaders if they do not act to improve pay, they will see strikes this summer.


Notes to Editors:

(Councils involved in second phase are: Aberdeen City, Angus, Clackmannanshire, Dundee, East Ayrshire, East Lothian, East Renfrewshire, Falkirk, Glasgow, Highland, Inverclyde, South Ayrshire, South Lanarkshire, West Lothian)