Saturday, 25 July 2009

Bin dispute: 5 key points

  1. The proposed pay changes and regrading are driven by two factors. The first is the requirement of equal pay legislation which has not been properly addressed in Edinburgh for years. The second is the urgent need to modernise working processes.
  2. Edinburgh rubbish collection costs are too high. The cost is £64.12 per household compared with a £60.85 average for Scotland. Sparsley populated areas such as Perth and Kinross Council manage is for £34.16 per household. In England, metropolitan authorities manage it for £49.10 and unitary authorities average £50.9 per household. (Audit Scotland figures for 2007/8)
  3. Refuse staff get a basic £12,000 plus bonuses of just under £7,000 for turning up. On top of that the system involves regular overtime. The proposals are for a basic salary of around £15,000 plus a shift allowance of £4,500 for flexible working. The regrading will result in around 20% of council workers being on a lower salary. The Council has guaranteed salary payments (not including overtime) for 3 years - and has promised to work with the new working system to ensure staff do not lose out.
  4. Unite union has organised a two week ballot beginning on 23rd July. One of the options is a full strike which would likely take place during the peak of the Festival. They are currently working to rule - this means they are working slower(!) and are not working overtime.
  5. The Council's modernising pay proposals will cost the taxpayer around an extra £10m on the annual wage bill. The Council has already paid out £25.4m in equal pay compensation claims. It is essential to avoid future payments of such large sums of public money.
NB 27.7 - one of the figures for collection costs has been amended - a typo put the average cost of collection in Edinburgh lower than it actually is.

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