Page last updated at 12:46 GMT, Friday, 17 July 2009 13:46 UK

Contingency plans over bin strike

Overflowing bins in Edinburgh (Pic: David Miller)
Rubbish has been piling up in Edinburgh

Edinburgh City Council's deputy leader said they are looking at contingency plans as industrial action by refuse collectors appeared to move closer.

Steve Cardownie has urged the union Unite to work with the council on a solution to the dispute over pay.

The staff are already working-to-rule in a row over plans to change the way they are paid.

It is claimed the new system could see bin collectors' wages cut from £18,000 to around £12,000.

Bonus loss

Mr Cardownie, said: "We have a solution to this dispute, and our door is open, but we are very disappointed that Unite don't want to work with us.

"We have to look at contingency plans and try to be prepared for all eventualities.

"Although there would be a change to basic salaries for some staff under the council's pay proposals, we are providing three years' pay protection, and there is plenty of time to reach agreement on our proposals for introducing different working patterns which would significantly reduce the impact of the loss of any bonus.

"We also have to remember that the proposals are about making the pay system fairer for all involved."

There has been a work-to-rule since Thursday 25 June.

Stephen MacGregor, Unite convenor within the Edinburgh City Council, said: "I am disappointed with Steve Cardownie's comments because he mentions a proposal which would still result in our members losing thousands of pounds.

"We have sought political engagement for a couple of years now but this has fallen on deaf ears.

"There is anger and disgust among our members that their employer is proposing to do this to them.

"The majority of councils across Scotland have introduced the Single Status Agreement because they have invested in it, so why can't Edinburgh city Council do this?"

The vote over strike action begins on 23 July and will run for two weeks.

If members vote to go out on strike it would begin in the middle of August, during the Edinburgh Festival.

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