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Members in waste set to kick off strike action

The first wave of strikes in the branch will begin on 26 August when Aberdeenshire UNISON members who are waste workers will take four days of strike action.

These members are taking action in support of a decent pay rise for us all, so please give them any support you can.

Aberdeenshire joins seven other branches in calling these members out on strike. This is the first round of targeted action with school staff members awaiting strike dates.

They are part of a wider co-ordinated plan of industrial action by the three trade unions across local government in Scotland following the recent conclusion of successful industrial action ballots. The dates that UNISON members in waste and recycling will walk out are the same as those chosen by the GMB for the same groups of workers, although GMB members will not strike in Aberdeenshire.

UNISON will provide strike dates for schools and early years workers in due course.

Inez Teece
Inez Kirk

Inez Kirk, branch secretary and one of the lead negotiators said: “This is the first wave of strike action which will only escalate if a significantly improved pay offer (not the paltry 3.5% recently offered) is not forthcoming. Strike dates for schools and early years workers will be confirmed in the coming days.

“Contrary to media information, CoSLA has not made a new offer of 5%. They have authorised negotiations with the joint trade unions up to 5% and a starting salary of £10.50. We have yet to see what this will look like but it is still well below inflation.

“The responsibility for this action lies squarely with the Scottish Government and COSLA, neither of whom seem to have grasped the gravity of this situation. Inflation is projected to be as high as 13%, the cost of living crises is hitting people’s pockets so the updated offer of 3.5% (from a derisory 2%) goes nowhere near what our members need to cope with rises in food and fuel.

“Our understanding is that the money provided by the Scottish Government is half of what COSLA asked for and goes nowhere near matching the pay offer provided to council workers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

“If this is true then the Scottish Government and COSLA need to get back round the table and come up with a better plan or services will stop. The last thing UNISON members want is a strike but they have simply been left with no other option.”