Contractors cleaning up streets targeted by bin men

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Rubbish piling up in the capital
Rubbish piling up in the capital

By Cara Sulieman

THE BIN strike in Edinburgh is turning ugly with claims contractors brought in to deal with the mess have been the target of aggression.

Workers for Shanks, who cleaned up the city ahead of the Gathering at the weekend, have complained about a driver shouting “scabs” at them from a passing car and bosses being abused by text.

As the industrial action enters its second month and workers threatening to strike right through the festival, it is feared the situation could get worse.

One worker at the company’s headquarters in Milton Keynes called the police after being abused about strike breaking, with officers still investigating.

Make the situation worse

A report released yesterday also accused bin men of sending abusive messages to their bosses and deliberately ignoring rubbish hot spots.

Yesterday councillors were told of claims that disgruntled cleansing staff are doing everything they can to make the situation worse.

The report said: “Some crews, especially in trade waste collection, have deliberately refused to follow instructions and there have been allegations of crews behaving irresponsibly.”

One council source added: “I have heard of one or two isolated incidents of intimidation by staff towards superiors.”

Rubbish has been piling up around Edinburgh with many businesses changing to other contractors to avoid their waste piling up outside their door.

Contractors collect the overflowing waste
Contractors collect the overflowing waste

And the council is now worried about the long term financial effect of the work-to-rule and potential strike action.

Bin workers have said that they are suffering abuse themselves from angry householders whose rubbish hasn’t been picked up in as much as four weeks.

But it is the behaviour of the council workers that has raised eyebrows.

Police confirmed that they are investigating complaints made by Shanks staff working in the Cowgate on Saturday.

They are appealing for witnesses to the incident, where a car stopped and the driver hurled abuse at the staff at around 12.15pm.

A spokesman for Lothian and Borders Police said: “Inquiries are ongoing following an incident in the Cowgate.

“A man driving a Peugeot 206 or similar vehicle stopped next to the workmen and shouted abuse at them. He is described as white, in his 30s, stocky build, with close shaven dark hair, and wearing a light coloured sleeveless vest.

“He also had a large tribal tattoo on his upper left arm.”

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