FAQ for striking workers

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General

What are the Strike Dates?

The first action is taking place in Edinburgh Waste services from 5am on 18th August 2022 and ends at 4.59am on 30th August 2022.

Waste workers in other councils will commence action on 24th August and return on 1st September.

Waste Workers in Edinburgh and in other councils across Scotland will commence action on Tuesday 6th September and return to work on 14th September.

Schools’ Workers in some councils will commence 3 days of action on 6th September and return to work on 9th September 2022.

Schools’ Workers in Edinburgh will not be called to take strike action yet.

Who is striking?

Currently, Council-employed Waste and Cleansing workers in Unite and GMB.

Unison did not meet the 50% turnout threshold. They are looking to reballot.

Agency staff are not part of the strike, as the employer formally is not the Council, but Pertemps. It is your choice whether to cross a picket or not. Call Brian (0749 359 7149) or Graeme (0771 948 1092) if you have any questions or concerns.

Unite has a legal mandate for strike action in Edinburgh schools and notice will be given when it is appropriate to do so.

Council Workers (both in Waste and in Schools) in other parts of the country are also taking strike action. This may be slightly different in each local authority.

Further Industrial Action ballots of other groups of workers may be held.

What is the strike for?

The strike is over the national local government pay award for all council workers in Scotland.

The negotiation is between COSLA and the local government unions—Unite, Unison and GMB—that cover all of Scotland.

The City of Edinburgh Council is not involved in negotiating the national pay award and is only 1 of the 32 councils that make up the employer’s body CoSLA.

The Scottish Government, whilst not being party to negotiations, is the key funder of Scottish Councils. About 75% of council income comes from the Scottish Government, about 20% comes from council tax and 5% from other sources like charges for services.

Who can stop the strike?

The Scottish Government can stop the strike by funding COSLA enough that they can give a fair pay rise.

Any pay offer will be debated within Unite’s Regional Industrial Sector Committee for Local Authorities in Scotland (Scottish LA RISC), which is essentially a committee of the Unite branches in Scottish councils. The RISC has the power to reject an offer it believes unacceptable to members or to initiate a consultative ballot. A consultative ballot may have a recommendation from the RISC.

How do I get information on what’s happening?

The branch website at www.unitececbranch.org.

The branch Twitter @unitececbranch

The Waste and Cleansing WhatsApp group. Text Brian (0749 359 7149) or Graeme (0771 948 1092) with your name and membership number to get added.

Emails from Unite. Contact Brian or Graeme with your email address if you haven’t given it to us or aren’t already receiving emails.

Pay

What happens to my pay when I strike?

Your pay for the days you strike will be deducted from your September pay.

Who gets strike pay?

Council employees who are on strike in Waste and Cleansing can claim £70 per day for every day you strike.

How do I claim my strike pay?

Unite will post you a form to claim your strike pay. Time permitting, branch reps will arrange to visit depots and other workplaces to assist the process.

You need to submit the form and your August and September pay slips—one will show your full pay and one with the deductions.

Your strike pay will be paid within 14 days of Unite receiving the form.

Terms of the strike

What exemptions have Unite and GMB granted to the Council?

Ony exemptions to enable:

  • specials schools uplifts
  • children’s homes uplifts
  • care home uplifts
  • bin chute collections where essential for health & safety
  • needle and sharps collections.

These are to be carried out by agency workers only, working Monday to Friday out of Murrayburn. You can view the message granting exemptions.

These exemptions are to vulnerable residents and prevent major incidents. They were agreed as part of the negotiations in which we closed the bin depots and arranged alternative duties for agency workers.

When you return to work after the strike period you should carry out your normal duties and work within your Job Description (a copy of your Job Description can be obtained from HR). Waste Workers should be extra careful when clearing accumulated debris. Health and Safety must be paramount. There is no overtime ban, go slow, work to rule or any other form of Industrial Action taking place only the announced periods of strike action. The employer has the right to offer additional hours and workers have the right to accept or reject any offer.

What will agency staff do during the strike?

We negotiated ‘grubbing out’ work for agency workers for the duration of the strike. This involved weeding and similar grounds maintenance duties—no waste and cleansing work. This is available to all agency workers.

This takes place from Murrayburn after 9am.

On the picket line

When should I attend a picket line?

Come to the picket of your place of work when you would be due to work, unless told otherwise by a picket supervisor. The picket supervisors are reps or Unite organisers and officials.

See the location and times of the pickets.

What do I do on a picket line?

  1. Give you name and details to the picket supervisor.
  2. Listen to instructions—the picket supervisor will ask you to be a picket, stay as a supporter or to go home.
  3. If you are one of the pickets, speak to workers entering to persuade them not to cross. This must be done politely and considerately—with no intimidation. Respect the decision of those that choose to cross the picket—in these times many are suffering financial hardship, so respect fellow workers.
  4. If you stay as a supporter, wave flags, take photos, be in photos etc.

Do not speak to the media unless asked to by a picket supervisor.

The guide to picketing outlines the laws and requirements.

The public and media will be taking note, so act accordingly.

How many can be on a picket line?

6 pickets per gate. At depots with multiple gates, we’ll need multiple pickets, for example, we need 12 folk to cover Seafield.

Others can stay as ‘supporters’ at a distance from the picket.

It is vital pickets are orderly, so listen to the picket supervisor.

What should I wear to the picket?

Whatever you like. Your work hi-vis would be good to show you’re a striking worker and to ensure safety at pickets near roads.

We’ll have Unite hi-vis vests for the pickets.

One thought on “FAQ for striking workers”

  1. Good luck guys
    A daily update if possible,regarding on-going pay negotiations would be helpful..
    Help keep us all in the loop.

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