Hopes high to avoid strike by bin workers

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The threat of strike action by almost 100 bin workers in East Dunbartonshire looks like being averted after a 
series of crunch talks.

The members of the GMB union had voted 
overwhelmingly to down tools in a dispute with East Dunbartonshire Council 
over workers’ terms and 
conditions.

Up to 400 workers in 
facilities management across joint trade unions, UNISON, Unite, Ucatt and the GMB, which includes council janitors and catering staff, had also returned a 
mandate for industrial action.

But after last-ditch talks between union chiefs and council management last week, it now looks likely that a settlement has been reached.

On Monday, Jim Burnett, branch secretary of UNISON said: “The talks we had were 
progressive.

“No one wants strike action. It is a last resort.

“There was movement on both sides and an attempt to maintain work in-house and not to cause
 disruption to local services.”

He added: “A further £23 million of cuts to the council budget are coming within the new few years.

“The politicians have got to be realistic. You can’t keep taking more and more out while at the same time maintaining the same services for local people.”

The GMB, which has 
the largest amount of bin workers across its members, had an 87 per cent return in favour of strike action after a 
ballot

The row over proposals to change up to 800 council workers terms and conditions in a bid to save cash, has been ongoing for several months.

Unions protested in February this year outside council HQ in Kirkintilloch against the plans which they said would put hundreds of jobs at risk.

Mr Burnett told the Herald unions had started to sit down to develop their 
strategy for strike action last week whilst continuing talks with the council.

It is now hoped a special meeting taking place this week in council HQ will see services to the public 
continuing as normal.

Mr Burnett said: “Subject to all going well at this meeting, we can all begin to move forward.”

The council confirmed a meeting was to take place.

Ann Davie, Director of 
Customer Service and 
Transformation at East 
Dunbartonshire Council said: “ A special council meeting has been called for Tuesday evening where we will 
consider the latest proposal.

“We hope to issue a further update following this.”