Pay offer accepted—looking back on the strike

City Chambers demo on the first day of the 2022 strike. Photo by Craig Maclean.

Today, Unite members accepted the latest pay offer from COSLA, with 71% voting to accept. Read details of the offer and see what it means to you.

Edinburgh waste and cleansing workers led the fight for Scottish local government worker pay.

The strike proved what we knew all along—the undeniable value of waste and cleansing workers, the city’s disease prevention team whose work benefits citizens, businesses and tourists immeasurably, and the power these workers have when organised to take action. The impact was noticed within 12 hours. Edinburgh was turned upside down and this shock made the Scottish Government sit up and take it notice. The action of the waste and cleansing workers brought the First Minister to the table to negotiate a resolution, despite the government’s prior insistence that it had nothing to do with them.

Overwhelmingly, the public stood by us and recognised that our fight is their fight. The attacks on working people in this country are being resisted and we are at the forefront, showing that organised, disciplined workers are ready for the fight for fair pay to weather the cost of living crisis. Edinburgh residents and visitors have shown their support and solidarity, recognising that local government workers are essential, yet unappreciated and unvalued by the Scottish Government.

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Vote YES for fair pay—week 4 of the ballot

Night shift at Seafield Depot

The ballot for industrial action over pay was issued on 10 June. Many of you have now returned this, however we need all members to have their say in this crucial vote.

If you haven’t voted, please do so now.

If you haven’t received your ballot, call 0131 556 9676 immediately to check your details with the office and get a replacement ballot.

COSLA’s offer of a 2% rise—in fact a dramatic pay cut, given that inflation is currently at 11.7%—is a slap in the face to the dedicated workforce in the Council. We must take a stand against this, so are recommending all workers vote YES for industrial action.

We have been non-stop raising the issue of Council worker pay and speaking to members to ensure the success of this ballot. Below you can see some of our actions over the past few weeks.

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Industrial action ballot announced—fight for fair pay now!

Ballot to strike over the 2% pay offer announced

Today, Unite announced that we are launching a ballot for industrial action in all Scottish local authorities.

Please see below for the notice of ballot for Edinburgh and information on what this means to you.

Notice to members of forthcoming industrial action ballot

The Union intends to conduct a ballot for industrial action of the following members: All members within the Waste Department and all members within the School Workplaces.
 
Voting papers will be sent out on the 10th of June 2022.

If you have not received a voting paper by the 24th of June, you should contact your workplace reps or the Edinburgh Office IMMEDIATELY.
 
The names of the members to be balloted are available by contacting your workplace reps or the Edinburgh Office. If you are entitled to vote in the ballot please check that you are on the list and that your address is accurately recorded.

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Housing Property—make your voice heard

Work in Housing Property? Take our survey

We are looking to understand the views of workers in Housing Property. The service has undergone significant changes in recent years, with impacts on terms and conditions and how work is organised. We want to know what you think of the arrangements and what you would like to see done better—and how it could be done better.

The survey is open to all workers in Housing Property, members and non-members.

Take the Housing Property survey

Current work in Housing Property

In-housing

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Budget Day demo—united in our call to invest in Council workers and jobs

On Thursday, we braved the chill and snow to demonstrate outside the City Chambers in solidarity with fellow trade unionists, activists and concerned citizens as the Council met to approve next year’s budget.

Read the budget papers and watch a webcast of the budget meeting, which includes the full deputations summarised below.

The Council have delivered a balanced budget for 2022/23, thanks to an underspend in 2021/22 and a 3% Council Tax rise, however the forecast for the years following looks bleak, with a gap in 2023/24 of around £55m with this gap increasing around £25m each year thereafter. The Council have said there must be a ‘robust savings plan’—which we know by now, translates to more cuts.

The demonstrators sought to raise awareness of the impact of cuts and call for measures to tackle the crises we face today that will be worsened by further cuts and by failing to change how the Council delivers services. We need a shake up and we need it now.

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HAVS crisis in Parks and Greenspaces

Essential guidance for those working with vibrating machinery

Photo by isi martínez on Unsplash

Around 20% of ground maintenance staff in the Council suffer from symptoms related to HAVS (hand arm vibration syndrome). Your branch is looking into this concerning figure and trying to understand how big an issue HAVS is in the workforce.

Complete our HAVS survey

Read on for useful information if you work with vibrating machinery.

Issues with HAVS in Parks and Greenspaces

Members have raised concerns that

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In-housing of our services

Unite has long advocated that council services be delivered by the council workforce and that our council ends the practice of out-sourcing our public services to private companies. Imagine then our astonishment to discover (2 days before the council meeting to give approval) that the council’s Facilities Management repairs contract was to be given to two massive multi-national companies (Mitie and Skanska).

We believe that our 200 or so members in Housing Property (joiners, plumbers, Electricians etc), augmented by additional craft operatives and apprentices, could do a huge amount of that work and help keep some of the £180m to be paid to these corporate giants in Edinburgh and for its citizens.

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