Clacks workers join waste and recycling staff strike

CLACKS waste and recycling workers are expected to join thousands of unionized colleagues when they go on strike this Friday.

The strike, part of four days of industrial action starting this week, comes amid an ongoing pay dispute with COSLA – the national body for local councils.

As a result, waste collections and services at the Forthbank Household Waste Recycling Center will be discontinued this Friday 26 August.

Further measures are planned for early September, while school support staff strike dates are also expected to be announced.

Pamela Robertson, Clackmannanshire UNISON branch secretary, said: “It is shameful that our members have had no choice but to go on strike.

“The disruption the strikes are bringing to all of our daily lives is regrettable; however, we simply have no other way to ensure that a further real-world pay cut, in addition to the many that have preceded, do not plunge our members into poverty during this cost of living crisis.”

The workers were elected last month when COSLA offered staff a 2% pay rise amid the cost of living crisis.

COSLA has since made a new offer “which increases the overall value to 5% and additionally increases the Scottish Local Government Living Wage to £10.50″.

However, Johanna Baxter, UNISON Scotland’s local government leader, welcomed that “there seems to be more money on the table”, but said: “COSLA has gotten confused about it.

“The letter sent to us does not say that our members will receive a 5% salary increase.

“It’s the offer of talks about setting up a paid offer within a five percent cost envelope.

“Confused? Our members will be.”

The offer came after a special meeting of council leaders on Friday August 19.

COSLA resources spokesperson Cllr Katie Hagmann added: “Leaders reiterated the need for discussion with the Scottish Government on how they can support the councils by providing flexibilities and financial support to long term.

“This will limit the risk to public services and the impact on communities.”

However, with no firm agreement in sight, strikes are always set to continue.

Andrew Kane, Chairman of Clacks UNISON, added: “UNISON members working in councils provide essential public services and like our colleagues in the NHS, Ambulance Service, Scottish Water etc, we were in frontline of the response to the Covid pandemic, removing people’s waste, cleaning schools and offices, supporting children in schools and nurseries, caring for the elderly and infirm, all of which led to an increased risk for our members from contracting Covid themselves.

“We will not accept any more reduction after reduction of our standard of living and our remuneration.

“COSLA and the Scottish Government have had several months to negotiate in good faith and come up with an offer that is both fair and meets the needs of our members.

“They failed to do so and now we are going to act.”