Public Health Scotland calls for decontamination following strikes

Strike action involving local authority waste management staff has resulted in an accumulation of waste in public areas, within people’s homes, and other premises, warns Public Health Scotland.

Public Health Scotland has made recommendations to local authorities to help limit the impact of waste on public health, including the fact that decontamination of public areas where bins have overflowed may be required.

Strike action is set are to continue between 7-10 September after action was first served by Unison, Unite, and GMD on 12 August. The most recent strike action has taken place across eight local authorities in Scotland between 26-29 August.

Following on from the announcement of further strike action, Public Health Scotland has recommended a series of precautions which it says people can take in order to reduce the possible health impacts of waste:

  • When handling waste at home, people should always wash hands thoroughly.
  • Where possible, organic waste and medical waste should be stored in containers.
  • If containers are not available, waste which is likely to rot or decompose should be double bagged.
  • The public should avoid contact with refuse in public areas.
  • The accumulation of waste may increase fire risk so households may wish to consider their fire safety preparedness.

The latest strike dates accompany action being taken in Edinburgh where workers have been on strike since 18 August, which has ran over the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, widely considered to be Scotland’s biggest annual event. The action in Edinburgh scheduled to finish on 30 August.

The strikes came after negotiations on pay between the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (Cosla) and the unions failed to reach an agreement after a non-recurring five per cent payment to workers was rejected.

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