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

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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.

Bins in Glasgow
Rubbish piled up in Glasgow during the strike (Jane Barlow/PA)

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.

Workers cleaning piles of rubbish in Edinburgh
The strikes coincided with action in Edinburgh which left the streets littered with rubbish (Lesley Martin/PA)

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.

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