October 2009

Scabstopping - Edinburgh residents stand up for their binworkers

WCR scab lorry blockaded in Edinburgh's Old Town by demonstrators displaying IWW Union placards urging solidarity with the Council bin workers.WCR scab lorry blockaded in Edinburgh's Old Town by demonstrators displaying IWW Union placards urging solidarity with the Council bin workers.

People acting in solidarity with Council Cleansing workers blockaded a WCR scab lorry for 30 minutes in the city centre on 18th September. Waving placards such as NO MORE WAGE CUTS around 25 people held the lorry at the top of Blair Street, as it moved out of Hunter Square.

Bin workers speak out

Workers in the City of Edinburgh Cleansing Department are working to rule and banning overtime, to oppose the Council's attempt to cut their wages. We interviewed two Cleansing Department workers, to find out the real story behind the dispute.

What's the dispute all about?

Council Spends Secret Fortune on Imported “Bin Men”

Edinburgh's plush Hilton Hotel is playing host to dozens of untrained “bin men” brought in by private companies to break the refuse-workers' work-to-rule against wage cuts. With charges of £102 per person per night, estimated accommodation costs for the imported workers (as of 10th Sep) are from £40,000 to £50,000.

‘Modernising’ pay the Council Way

The dispute between refuse workers and Edinburgh Council over Modernising Pay has had a high profile. What hasn't is that all council staff with the exception of departmental directors and teachers will be affected by these changes, and the majority of staff stand to lose out significantly on pay and conditions. The council are looking to deal with being £92 million in the red by attacking the pay and conditions of their poorest staff.

Fighting Back in Leeds

Delivering rubbish to Leeds’ Council Leader’s homeDelivering rubbish to Leeds’ Council Leader’s homeBin workers in Leeds have been on indefinite strike since Sept 7th. They are facing pay cuts of up to £6000 per year.

On the 16th September, a group of Leeds residents gathered together with some of the bags of rubbish that had been building up in their yards and gardens and the streets outside their homes, and then disposed of them directly on the council leader's doorstep.

Victory for Striking Glasgow Council Workers after 3 week action

“We have shown that you can fight and you can win”

On the 10th August 2007 around 600 social care workers employed by Glasgow City Council brought to an end 20 days of all out, indefinite strike action and returned to work having won wage increases of between £1000 and £2400. This victory made them the best paid social care workers in Scotland.

Defend the care of Our Elderly

The cuts and privatisation agenda attacking refuse workers is also putting Edinburgh's most vulnerable at risk.

Two years ago Edinburgh council announced its intention to privatise 75% of its homecare services.  Since then agencies have been bidding for services with those that can provide them cheapest winning contracts. A public campaign against this disgrace was set up 2 years ago.