CLEANSING workers at the City of Edinburgh Council are set to begin 11 days of strike action on Thursday. 

Workers at waste and recycling depots across the capital rejected a formal pay offer from councils body Cosla of 3.5%. 

Members of the GMB union will strike between August 18 and 30. 

A rally is expected to take place at the City of Edinburgh Council Chambers at 9.30am on Thursday to coincide with the strike beginning. 

READ MORE: Full list of industrial action and strike dates to know if you live in Scotland

This comes as the First Minister said councils should make a “decent” pay offer to avert strike action. 

Members of Unite and GMB unions will walk out over the pay offer, described as “paltry” by Unite general secretary Sharon Graham. 

She said: “Unite’s local government representatives have rejected the paltry offer of 3.5% from Cosla. 

“The offer is nowhere near good enough. Council leaders across Scotland including Edinburgh and Glasgow are publicly on the record acknowledging this reality, so why should our members even consider it? 

“We make no apologies for standing up for our members because they deserve better than what they are getting from the politicians.

“Unite will always defend the jobs, pay and conditions of its members.”

Both unions expect the strikes to have an impact on the ongoing Edinburgh International and Fringe festivals. 

GMB Scotland organiser Kirsten Muat said: “Waste will pile up for the remainder of the festival and when people ask why we will tell them: GMB members are not prepared to accept working poverty in our local services as an inevitability even if our political leaders are. 

“These strikes are a direct response to the failures of Cosla and the Scottish Government over the last six months to recognise the impact of this cost of living crisis on our members and to bring forward a pay offer worthy of their consultation.

“The 3.5% tabled last week – a miserly lift on the previously rejected 2% - is a pathetic response while our members struggle against double-digit inflation and energy bills rising to over £4000 this winter. 

“If political leaders want to curtail its impact and avoid the prospect of more strikes across more councils in the weeks to come, then they must urgently make a significantly improved pay offer.”

Ministers paid out £140 million to local authorities last week and said they expected this to be matched by councils to provide a good pay offer. 

Council leader Cammy Day said discussions about clean-up operations for after the strike gets under way are ongoing. 

READ MORE: Scotland council strikes to go ahead as unions reject pay offer

He said: “It’s now looking increasingly likely that industrial action will go ahead here in Edinburgh and in other cities across the country. 

“Together with my fellow council leaders, I’ll continue to press the Scottish Government to resolve this as quickly as possible.

“I firmly believe that all council colleagues deserve to be paid fairly for the work they do and have every right to take this action and have their voices heard. 

“As the lowest funded council in Scotland, it’s time for the Scottish Government to properly fund our capital city and its services.”

Strikes across 14 other local authorities in Scotland will follow from August 24 until August 31. 

A spokesperson for the Scottish Government said: “As the employers, these pay negotiations are a matter for local authorities and unions – the Scottish Government has no formal role. 

“We urge Cosla to urgently reconsider its position and match the Scottish Government’s additional £140 million that would be required to increase the pay offer to 5%. 

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“The Scottish Government must balance a fixed budget with a very significant competing demands as a consequence of the cost of living crisis and the inaction of the UK Government. 

“The main tax levers are set for the whole year and cannot be changed. 

“With no power to borrow for this spend, the extra £140 million has got to come from somewhere else within the budget and no more funding can be offered.”