A NEW offer has been made to try and settle a council pay dispute that threatens to close schools next month and has seen bins overflowing in streets in Edinburgh and Glasgow due to a waste workers strike.

A meeting was held between the local government body COSLA and council leaders  from three unions in dispute over the weekend to discuss the terms of a fresh offer.

Unions are want agreement similar to one made to council workers in England, which included a £1,925 flat rate pay increase.

They are concerned that a percentage pay rise would mean the most money would go to the best paid staff.

Some 25 councils are being hit buy the waste strike, with various actions due to end over the next three days.

One three-day wave of action by UNISON Scotland and GMB Scotland due to end today (Monday). Unite's ‘first wave’ of strike action in Edinburgh is due to end tomorrow (Tuesday).

A further wave of action from Unite waste staff is due to end on Wednesday.

Public Health Scotland has warned of a human health risk from overflowing waste, and advised councils to decontaminate areas where bins have overflowed.

But a further tranche of waste disposal action is scheduled by the unions starting on September 6 and 7.

Some 13 councils are also due to be hit by an education staff strike next month scheduled for September 6, 7 and 8.

Thousands of staff from all three unions that are in dispute will be taking part in the stoppage in Glasgow and East Renfrewshire.

At least one union will be orchestrating strikes hitting education in nine other council areas - Orkney Islands, Aberdeenshire, Angus, Dundee, North Lanarkshire, South Lanarkshire, Clackmannanshire, Stirling and Inverclyde.

Unite staff employed by Tayside Contracts who provide catering and janitorial services to schools across Angus, Dundee and Perth and Kinross councils will also strike.

New offer made to try to end Scots councils' bin strikes and school closures

Talks between unions and COSLA broke down on Tuesday last week over a 5% 'undifferentiated' pay offer.

That came after the Scottish Government gave an additional £140m to councils to help fund a pay increase for staff and urged both sides to seek a "fair resolution" to the dispute.

But unions said they needed deputy first minister John Swinney to open the purse strings again to end the pay dispute.

Details of the new offer have not been made public, with union leaders expected to go discuss the offer before putting it to members for approval.

COSLA resources spokeswoman Katie Hagmann refused to confirm the offer had been made, but said: “We remain in intense active discussions with our trade union colleagues.”

If the new offer is accepted by the unions they will then put it to their members.

The first bin strike began in the capital city on August 18 in the midst of festival season, after the unions - the GMB, Unite and Unison - rejected an initial pay offer equivalent to a 3.5% increase.

Local government minister Ben Macpherson urged both sides to continue to seek a fair resolution to the dispute.

“We know that after constructive discussions over recent days, we are aware that COSLA, the body on behalf of local government leaders, held a meeting with local government leaders to discuss a potential proposition,” he said.

“But as I’m sure you will appreciate, it would not be appropriate for the Scottish Government to comment further beyond continuing to encourage both sides to continue to seek that fair resolution and that sustainable resolution to the dispute that we all want to see as soon as possible.”

He said the Scottish Government is engaged with local government leaders.

“The unions and COSLA are of course the negotiating parties in this scenario,” he said.

“The Scottish Government can’t make the unions an offer because we’re not the employer in this situation, but of course we’re engaged with local government leaders and we want to see a resolution to this just like everyone else.

“It really wouldn’t be appropriate for me to discuss a negotiation that is ongoing, but like everyone else, we want to see a fair resolution as soon as possible.”

City of Edinburgh Council said additional resources would be deployed to support the clean up on Tuesday, when the strike ends in the capital.

Council leader Cammy Day said: "This dispute has brought the value of our waste and cleansing teams - and their right to fair wage - into sharp focus and I'm delighted they'll be back out from Tuesday, helping to return our city to its best.

"While they'll be working hard to catch up on collections and making every effort to collect litter across the city, it'll take time for things to return to normal.

"Please bear with them as they do so and, if you can store your extra waste safely for a little longer or are able to book an appointment at a recycling centre, please do so."

 

Waste and recycling services strike

Unite

 

August 18-30:  City of Edinburgh

August 24 to 31 (8 days action) - Aberdeen City, Angus, Dundee, East Ayrshire, East Lothian, East Renfrewshire, Falkirk, Glasgow, Highland, Inverclyde, South Ayrshire, South Lanarkshire, West Lothian. September 6 to 13 September (8 days action) – Aberdeenshire, Aberdeen City, Angus, Dumfries and Galloway, Dundee, East Ayrshire, East Dunbartonshire, East Lothian, East Renfrewshire, Edinburgh, Falkirk, Fife, Glasgow, Highland, Inverclyde, North Ayrshire, South Ayrshire, South Lanarkshire, West Lothian.

UNISON

August 26 to 29 and September 7 to 10 - Aberdeenshire, Clackmannanshire, East Renfrewshire, Glasgow City, Inverclyde, North Lanarkshire, Stirling and South Lanarkshire.

GMB Scotland

August 26 to 29 and September 7 to 10 - Aberdeen City, Angus, Dundee, East Ayrshire, East Lothian, Falkirk, Glasgow, Inverclyde,Highland, Midlothian, Orkney, South Ayrshire, South Lanarkshire, West Lothian, Perth and Kinross, North Lanarkshire.