Solidarity to the strikers

Statement on council worker strikes from the Green Councillor Group

Edinburgh’s local government workforce badly need a pay increase. On the back of the Covid-19 pandemic and over 10 years of Tory austerity, the cost of living crisis is already biting hard and will only get worse as we head into the autumn months.

Local government workers are at the heart of everything we do as a council – keeping our streets clean, caring for our loved ones, and helping us travel to where we need to be. Despite this they are some of the lowest paid workers. The strike which starts today will demonstrate very quickly just how valuable their services are, as we see rubbish piling up and our city cleanliness soon deteriorating.

The Scottish Greens at Edinburgh Council have been doing what we can to support people through this cost of living crisis, and a vital part of that is ensuring fair wages. We are calling for an agreement to be reached which offers a decent wage increase for the lowest paid workers and are working both within the council and nationally to try and push for a fair and redistributive offer to be made to our workers.

We can’t ignore the fact that this will be very hard to achieve. The hard truth is that both here in Edinburgh and nationally, budgets are being stretched to breaking point and there will have to be significant cuts to services in future years. Ultimately, we need increased powers over revenue raising in local authorities, along with an increase in our funding from the Scottish Government who, in turn, need these things from Westminster.

Edinburgh Greens will be joining picket lines throughout the strike days, and using what power and influence we have within the council and COSLA (the national body of local authorities who are involved in the negotiations) to push for a deal which sees increased pay for our lowest paid workers, without leaving Edinburgh in a position where we are unable to pay for the basic services everyone in our city needs.

Workers rights and the power of collective action are at the heart of green politics. Solidarity to the strikers.