Page last updated at 15:17 GMT, Wednesday, 5 August 2009 16:17 UK

Bin dispute 'remains unresolved'

Overflowing bins in Edinburgh (Pic: David Miller)
The dispute has left many bins in the capital overflowing

The Unite trade union has warned that Edinburgh's bin dispute, which has caused widespread disruption to waste collections, remains unresolved.

The union cautioned against assuming the row about refuse workers pay had ended and said further industrial action was still a possibility.

The comments came after the leader of Edinburgh City Council said the latest round of talks were "very positive".

Councillor Jenny Dawe said "constructive negotiations" continued.

Bin men in the capital have been taking part in industrial action for the past seven weeks in protest at proposed changes to pay structures, which could see their earnings cut from £18,000 a year to £12,000.

However, following a breakthrough in talks on Monday, hopes were high that the work-to-rule action could soon end.

Sandy Smart of Unite said details of a deal, put forward by the council on Monday, would be considered by workers on Thursday and Friday.

'Service changes'

He added that a ballot for strike action, due to take place on Thursday, would still go ahead.

Mr smart said: "We are not going to call off the ballot, it has got to run. But what we are willing to do is say that if the council are making us a genuine offer then we will not act on that ballot.

"But we are not ruling anything in or out and it would be foolish to do so. It's unrealistic to speak of this dispute as being resolved until our members have had a chance to consider the terms of this offer."

In a statement Ms Dawe said the council's offer would prevent "most staff from losing significant amounts of money".

She added: "Unite agreed to recommend to their members, at meetings later this week, that the current action should be called off and normal working resumed, so long as they received written confirmation from management of service changes discussed.

"Unite also agreed to recommend to their members that Thursday's ballot result should not be acted upon, provided the current constructive negotiations continue. The letter from management was sent to Unite before close of play yesterday.

"There is every intention to continue constructive negotiations."

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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