Waste and cleansing—changes to COVID arrangements

We recently met with management to discuss changes to working arrangements in Waste and Cleansing as a result of changes to Scottish Government guidance and restrictions being lifted. The message from senior management is clear—there will be no sudden changes, you will be informed in advanced and they will meet with the unions before anything changes.

We made clear that we were concerned with what we believe is a rushed removal of vital safety measures in the community and that ensuring workers safety is paramount.

Andy Williams summarised the Council’s current position:

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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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Industrial Action Ballot

Word is beginning to filter through that UNISON have not reached the industrial action ballot threshold (50%) in their pay ballot. If this is true then it means Unite and GMB members will have to carry the fight for better pay and conditions to the employer without this union.

Our ballot closes on 7th October 2021 and ballots were posted last week.

Members balloted are:

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Recruitment in Waste and Cleansing

Looking for a permanent drivers job in Waste and Cleansing?

The Council are recruiting to permanent positions for Waste and Cleansing Driver Crew Leaders.

Unite have been campaigning to reduce agency spend in the Council and ensure internal candidates have support in their applications for these jobs, so we are delighted that the Council are offering support and interview skills assistance for current staff and agency staff that are looking to apply.

If you work in Waste and Cleansing, contact your line manager for details of this.

Industrial action ballot launched—important details for members

Branch convener Graeme Smith and branch secretary Brian Robertson each hold a Unite flag and jointly hold an envelope reading notice of industrial action outside the Edinburgh City Chambers
Branch convener Graeme Smith and branch secretary Brian Robertson serve the notice of industrial action at the City Chambers

Unite launch industrial action ballots across all Scottish local authorities as pay dispute escalates 
 
Today, Unite the Union served notice of industrial action ballot to all 32 Scottish local authorities following an overwhelming rejection of the pay offer in a consultative ballot.
 
In the ballot:

  • 83% rejected pay offer
  • 74% indicated a willingness to take strike action. 

Important ballot information for members

We will conduct a ballot for industrial action of the following members:

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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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