November 2009

Audio interview with Council Worker Solidarity Group

Here is a five minute Interview with the Council Worker Solidarity Group. The workers themselves did not want to be interviewed on audio recorder or filmed as a bin worker who gave quotes to the Edinburgh Evening News has been suspended for talking to the press.

Interview (Ogg-Vorbis, 5 min, ca. 3 MB)

Interview (WAV, 5 min, ca.27 MB)

Interview (mp3, 5min, ca 5 MB)

Pay cuts rejected: struggle may go city-wide

The struggle by council workers against pay cuts could go city wide, as the overwhelming majority of UNISONS 8,000 members have now voted to reject the Council's "pay modernisation" proposals.

So far, industrial action has only affected the cities manual workers in UNITE, who are engaging in a work to rule and overtime ban after rejecting a £4k pay cut. The dispute could soon widen to include every council department.

I am not for sale!

200 carers and clients held an angry protest outside City Chambers on 11th November. They’re facing savage cuts and a privatisation process that could see service users separated from the carers that they have built relationships with, in favour of the lowest cost company.,,

Dawe: liar, liar, pants on fire, nose as long as a telephone wire!

The Edinburgh Evening News is being used by Council Leader Jenny Dawe, as the front line in a propaganda battle to divide and rule.In the Edinburgh Evening News, 19 October, Dawe announced that the street cleaners and other manual workers were about to make an agreement and end their industrial action, leaving bin-workers by themseves. A claim later found to be false.  

Fighting back - A bin worker reveals the untold story of harrassment during the dispute

"The management are using bullyboy tactics and harassment. Our depot’s like a police state": an Edinburgh bin worker.

The Muckraker interviews one of the workers on the bin lorries, collecting the city’s refuse.

What’s behind the dispute?

Cleansing workers action committee

Cleansing workers active in the dispute have told us that the official Union structures are ineffective, and believe that an Action Committee is needed.  This would bring together cleansing workers from the different depots - street cleaners, bin workers, everyone.

Privatisation—A Load of Rubbish

An Audit Scotland report has revealed the Council are considering privatising its refuse collection service.  This would mean yet more attacks on workers’ wages and conditions.

But would it reduce costs for the Council? Maybe to start with, but private companies have a habit of winning contracts with a lower bid, then putting up the price once they have their foot in the door and the Council depends on them.

Blood from a Stone - Why don't they want you to know how much they’re paying scabs?

Edinburgh’s citizens are being kept in the dark as to what our council tax is being spent on.

In an attempt to smash their manual staff’s dispute, the Council have handed lucrative contracts to private firms. Like employment sharks Assist,  recruiting ‘bin men’ via St Andrew’s Square Jobcentre. These scabs are paid £11 an hour — £3 more than the real workers — plus Assist's secret cut on top of this for every scab.

Resisting wage docking

The Council has now repaid the docked wages to some bin workers, but is still withholding pay from many.  Workers are going to Tribunals to try and win back their wages—plus some workers whose wages have been repaid are still going to the Tribunal to contest the injustice they suffered.

One worker said: “I’m not going to let them get away with this, I know if I let them do this they’ll go on doing this kind of thing, I’m going to stand up for myself.”

Refuse to be a scab!

The Muckraker has been told that officials at Edinburgh Job Centres have threatened to stop unemployed people's benefits if they do not apply for jobs with Assist on the scab bin lorries. This is illegal!