Page last updated at 14:51 GMT, Monday, 27 July 2009 15:51 UK

Private firm raises bin 'unrest'

Rubbish in Dalmeny Street (Pic: John Easton)
Rubbish has been lying strewn across streets in Edinburgh during the dispute

Contract refuse collectors have been drafted in to clean up Edinburgh's trade waste, as a bin dispute enters its sixth week.

Edinburgh City Council refuse workers have been working to rule and are being balloted for a strike over pay.

The council refused to name the firm involved, but Shanks Waste Solutions confirmed it had begun picking up rubbish from the city's streets.

Union officials said the move would only increase "unrest" among workers.

Bringing in private firms only increases unrest among workers
Stephen MacGregor
Unite union

Mark Turley, Edinburgh City Council's director of services for communities, said: "This is the first time that anyone can remember where we have had to call in contractors to carry out the work of our staff, due to an industrial dispute.

"We have been faced with no option but to hire in staff to carry out trade waste collections in the city.

"These collections have fallen significantly behind, we have lost valued contracts as a result and we need to mitigate against further losses."

Stephen MacGregor, Unite convenor within the Edinburgh City Council, said: "The solution is not to bring in private firms but to instead get round the negotiating table to find an agreement.

"Bringing in private firms only increases unrest among workers."

He added that he was meeting Edinburgh City Council leader Jenny Dawe on Thursday morning in a bid to reach a resolution.

A spokesman for Shanks Waste Solutions, which has a base in Broxburn, said: "I can confirm that Shanks is providing a trade waste collection service to the City of Edinburgh Council."

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