By Cara Sulieman
THE Army could be deployed onto the streets of Edinburgh to collect rubbish bins as a battle over pay escalates, according to claims by staff.
Angry worker say council bosses told them that if proposed strike action goes ahead next month they will look to call in reinforcements – from the Army.
City of Edinburgh City Council have so far distanced themselves from the claim officially.
But protocol exists using what is known as a Military Aid to Another Government Department request which would be considered by top brass.
It would first have to be sanctioned at Ministerial level.
The claim is the latest in a bitter battle between the two factions over modernisations that workers claim will cost them thousands in wages.
Binmen across the city are already working to rule in protest to the changes.
They say pay will plummet under the proposals, a move that could also eventually affect other local authority workers.
Their wages will be cut and then supplemented with bonuses for attendance and productivity under the controversial proposals
And they claim a threat to draft in the Army was made by a senior representative from the council after other attempts to calm down the situation failed.
One union member, who asked not to be named, said: “They told us if we don’t get back to work they would bring in the Army to clear the streets.
“I think they’re panicking with the Festival coming up.
“We told them we’re going to try and target the Festival to him them as hard as possible. I just couldn’t live on what they’re proposing.”
But the council were keeping any plans to deal with the mess under wraps, saying only that they would make sure the service was provided.
Andrea McHugh, head of environment at the council, said: “Every effort is being made to ensure that all refuse still awaiting collection is picked up as soon as possible.”
A council spokesman added: “We have no plans to request the involvement of the army to assist in delivery of services.”
An army spokesman said soldiers would only be drafted in to help with rubbish in “exceptional” circumstances.
They added: “We haven’t been asked.”