Edinburgh: Stand up for the bin workers

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Cleansing staff at Edinburgh City Council went out on strike on Thursday August 18, as part of the protest over pay.

The walkout, the first in a series of protests planned by trade unions, is due to go on until August 30, with bins around the city already overflowing with rubbish as a result of not being emptied.

The action comes while Edinburgh is the venue for an international Festival of arts and culture. It is a huge embarassment for the City Council and SNP government.

Local authorities this weekend increased their below-inflation pay offer from 3.5 per cent to 5 per cent.

Alison Maclean of Unite noted: “While the 5% offer is an improvement, it is important to emphasise that it comes at a time when the broader retail price index has now hit a 40-year high at 12.3%.

Unite’s local government committee will urgently consider this latest offer. At this juncture the strikes for next week continue as planned.”

Comedian Mark Thomas has joined forces with the city’s Stand venue to organise a benefit in solidarity with the strikers on Wednesday. The money raised will go straight to the GMB’s official strike fund.

Comedians and members of the public are supporting the strikers

Thomas says: “These are the workers who got us through Covid and now they are being told to take a real cut in their wages. It’s unacceptable and they deserve our support in fighting back.

GMB support worker Kirsten Muat added: “Too many local government workers across Scotland are already suffering in work poverty. The bin men in Edinburgh are striking to try and put an end to that.

“GMB are incredibly grateful to everyone supporting the striking workers, including all the comedians and members of the public coming along to the benefit gig.

The benefit will take place at The Stand’s New Town Theatre at 9pm on Wednesday. Tickets are £20, or £5 for strikers.

Also on the bill are Jason Byrne, Jo Caulfield, Kiri Pritchard-McLean, Mark Nelson, Shazia Mirza, Suse McCabe, Rachel Fairburn, Vladimir McTavish and Danny Bhoy.

You can buy tickets here: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/stand-up-for-the-bin-workers

Picture credit for overflowing bins: (C) Pat Harrington. All rights reserved.

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