Page last updated at 17:18 GMT, Monday, 3 August 2009 18:18 UK

Breakthrough made in bin dispute

Bin bags
Edinburgh has already seen bins overflow because of strike action

A breakthrough has been made that could soon bring an end to the Edinburgh bin dispute, BBC Scotland has learned.

The Unite union is understood to be considering a deal with Edinburgh City Council following talks on Monday afternoon.

Refuse workers in the city have been taking part in a work-to-rule in protest at proposed changes to pay, and were being balloted over strike action.

They have claimed the changes could cut their earnings from £18,000 to £12,000.

The council and union officials both said the talks had been productive, and that if the more detailed proposals discussed can be agreed on, the workers should be working as normal by the end of the week.

Private contractor

A statement from Unite said: "Today's talks have been more productive than previous ones.

"We have asked the council for their proposals in black and white with more information about who will be affected and what their shift patterns will be.

"If the proposals stack up and the jobs are as the council says enriched and the figures are correct we will have no problem in recommending them to our members and would advise them then to return to working normally.

"But this very much depends on whether the proposals stack up. "

Some households in the city have not had their waste collected for more than four weeks.

Residents have reported seeing rats, seagulls and foxes feeding from the plastic refuse bags that have been piled up beside many communal bins.

The local authority brought in a private contractor last week to clear refuse from the city centre amid concern that Edinburgh's reputation could be affected in the run up to the International Festival.

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