Branch waste and recycling members kicked off strike action in Aberdeenshire when they walked out from 26 to 29 August 2022.
Branch chair, Kate Ramsden, assistant branch secretary, Ann Gray and regional organiser, Simon Watson joined members Marie, Nom and Moira on the picket line outside the Souterford Road depot on Friday 26 August, the first day of action.
Our waste and recycling members are taking action in support of a decent pay rise for all of their council colleagues in Aberdeenshire council and across Scotland.
We even made the P&J. Bin strikes spread with workers taking to picket lines (pressandjournal.co.uk)
First time striker Marie said that she had thought long and hard about taking action but decided that she had to stand up for all her colleagues who are low paid and barely managing to make ends meet.
Nom echoed these sentiments, saying that it is the very people who worked through the pandemic to deliver public services who are now being hit with the rising costs of food and fuel.
There will be further strike action on 6th September, when UNISON members in schools and early years will walk out for three days.
Branch secretary, Inez Kirk said: “Our members have said enough is enough, with below inflation pay rises which leave them vulnerable to food a fuel poverty as costs spiral.
“Most of our members earn less than £25,000 per year, and despite doing essential work for our communities and stepping up during the Covid pandemic to keep those services going, are both undervalued and underpaid.
“It can’t be too much to ask that our council members are given decent wages so that they are not dependent on foodbanks and handouts. With inflation threatening to top 18% and massive costs in energy just around the corner, COSLA and the Scottish Government must come up with a decent pay offer that values our members and recognises the important work they do.”
Branch co-chair, Kate Ramsden added: “We thank our waste members and our school staff members for standing up and taking action of behalf of us all.
“Strike action is always a last resort. Our members don’t want to strike – but they have been given no choice.
“It’s time that governments woke up and recognised that the way out of the economic crisis that austerity and Brexit have created is to put money in the pockets of ordinary people to spend in their local communities. That is good for the economy and absolutely essential to ensure that our members are not plunged into food and fuel poverty this Winter.”