Page last updated at 17:02 GMT, Tuesday, 28 July 2009 18:02 UK

Rubbish uplift four weeks behind

A man walks past pile of rubbish
A man walks past piles of rubbish as refuse builds up in Edinburgh

Some collections of household rubbish are running four weeks behind schedule in a dispute involving refuse collectors, according to a report.

Refuse collectors in Edinburgh have been working-to-rule for several weeks in protest at plans to change the way they are paid.

The Unite union is balloting its members for a strike.

A report for Edinburgh City Council said the collection of domestic waste is between two and four weeks behind.

And it said trade waste collection has also been left in the street, causing hygiene problems.

Collection of garden waste has also been affected, as the council transfers resources away from this to other services.

We have been open and honest with the unions from the outset of this dispute
Jenny Dawe
Edinburgh City Council leader

The report, prepared for the council's transport infrastructure and environment committee, claimed some crews "deliberately refused to follow management instructions".

On Monday the council said it was using a private contractor to collect trade waste around the city, claiming it had "no option" but to take the step.

Edinburgh City Council leader Jenny Dawe said more talks with the unions were due to take place on Thursday.

"We have been open and honest with the unions from the outset of this dispute," she said.

"Our door is always open and we are ready to talk as soon as they are and are prepared to discuss payments for more flexible working and other service changes.

"Talks with the trades unions and senior administration councillors are scheduled for later this week and it is hoped that they will allay many of the concerns of the unions and their members and will allow us begin to proceed towards a satisfactory conclusion."

Unions claim the new system could see the refuse worker's wages cut from £18,000 to about £12,000.



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