Fife braced for council strike as bins and schools to be affected

Fife is set to be hit by a council workers’ strike, with schools and refuse collection among the first areas targeted.

Wednesday, 27th July 2022, 3:04 pm
Updated Wednesday, 27th July 2022, 3:05 pm
Will bins be left on the street?
Will bins be left on the street?

Unite has confirmed that Fife is among the 26 councils which have rejected the “derisory” two per cent pay offer and voted for industrial action.

The trade union, which represents thousands of local government workers, balloted its members in schools and cleansing across all Scottish councils.

Fife Council is already bracing for the impact of the strikes, and looking ahead to find ways to minimise disruption.Unite says the strike dates will be finalised in the coming week with action in refuse and waste services expected to begin in mid-August.

Union chiefs have also confirmed action impacting schools is expected to begin in early September, once the summer holidays are over.

The union says the Scottish Government and the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA) need to recognise that the current 2 per cent offer is “unacceptable” amid the deepening cost of living crisis.

Fife Council's Head of HR Sharon McKenzie confirmed that the council is aware of ​​Unite's plans for industrial action.

She said: "​​We are assessing the potential impact this could have on our services in Fife ​and will work ​to minimise the effect of this locally."

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “The message for both the Scottish Government and COSLA is crystal clear: thousands upon thousands of members won’t tolerate real terms pay cuts anymore, and they have had enough. Our members are being forced to take this action due to a derisory pay offer, and we will support them in this fight for better jobs, pay and conditions in local government.”

Wendy Dunsmore, Unite industrial officer, added: “Our members are at the end of their patience. They are being forced to take this action due to being completely undervalued despite working throughout the pandemic. Let’s be clear here: a 2% pay offer when the broader cost of living is at 11.8% is a punishing real terms pay cut. In the coming weeks we will now plan for targeted strike action in 26 councils across Scotland and the blame for this lies squarely with COSLA and the First Minister.”