Fife’s binmen have called off their strike threat – for now at least.
Unions have agreed to enter into talks with managers over a number of serious concerns, including health and safety issues.
However, the option of industrial action will go back on the table if a resolution can’t be found.
Bins in some areas of Fife have already gone unemptied in recent weeks due to staff shortages.
And Labour MSP Alex Rowley said a strike would be “disastrous” for communities.
He has now called on management to listen to the unions’ concerns, in a bid to avoid mass action.
Bin strike ‘must be avoided’
The binmen threatened to walk out last month, amid claims they were being told to mix recycling with landfill waste.
That issue has since been resolved and staff have been told it must no longer happen.
But issues including allegations of faulty equipment and changes to collection routes remain.
Mr Rowley said a strike must be avoided.
“If there was a strike it would be disastrous,” he said.
“I met with the trade unions last week and stressed that point to them.”
He added: “They’re calling for more investment in frontline services to take the pressure off staff.
“And they want to make sure recycling is happening in the way it’s meant to.
“It seems to me that what they’re asking for is not unreasonable.”
The Mid Scotland and Fife MSP urged councillors to listen to the staff and question senior management.
Fife’s bin collections and recycling services are run by arms’ length company Cireco.
‘We will take action’
Unite the Union convener John Gillespie said talks would take place over the next fortnight.
“They’ve agreed to meet us to sit round the table and thrash out areas of concern,” he said.
“The unions are going into discussions to try to resolve outstanding issues but if it’s not resolved to our satisfaction we will take action.”
Cireco confirmed it is working with the unions.
Chief executive Robin Baird said: “We continue to welcome the ongoing dialogue with out trade union colleagues and will continue to work with them in the coming weeks.
“We once again would like to thank all our workforce for their commitment over the last 18 months in the delivery of critical services.”