IWW members and others acting in solidarity with the Council Cleansing workers successfully blockaded a WCR scab lorry for 30 minutes in Edinburgh city centre on 18th September. Waving placards such as NO MORE WAGE CUTS around 25 people stopped the WCR lorry at the top of Blair Street, as it moved out of Hunter Square. Cleansing workers are banning over-time and working to rule to oppose wage cuts, and Edinburgh Council have brought in private companies to do their work.
The scabs were unable to move their lorry or empty any bins, as protestors surrounded the vehicle and urged them to show solidarity with workers resisting wage cuts. Despite frantic scab phone calls it was only when the police eventually arrived around 6.30pm that the WCR lorry was able to escape.
Police demands for the name and address of one alleged participant were successfully resisted, and no arrests were made. One demonstrator said: “We are very encouraged by the success of our action today. We will definitely be back on the streets very soon to take more direct action in solidarity with the Council workers under attack.”
“ We explained to the workers who were scabbing that what they were doing was wrong and that in these hard times people have to stick together and not stab each other in the back……..fighting for the crumbs from the rich man’s table…” added one of the several IWW Union members involved.
ASSISTING WAGE CUTS
The 3 workers in the lorry are believed to have been enlisted by the private agency Assist, which has been recruiting via St Andrews Square Job Centre. One claimed to have been forced to take the job by the Job Centre, but an activist from Edinburgh Coalition Against Poverty pointed out : ”Your benefits cannot legally be cut if you turn down a job doing work normally done by workers in dispute. We will give 100% solidarity, including if needbe direct action, to anyone threatened with a benefits cut for refusing a scab job.”
City of Edinburgh Council cleansing workers are banning over-time and working to rule to oppose wage cuts being imposed by the Council as part of so-called “pay modernisation”. Supposedly intended to equalise male and female wages, the scheme is in fact reducing wages for many workers, cleansing workers being set to lose around £300 per month. Almost all Council manual workers are threatened by such pay cuts. Meanwhile cleansing workers in Leeds are on all-out strike against similar wage cuts.