Strike by waste workers in Scotland fills streets with garbage

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LONDON (Reuters) - A strike by Scottish refuse workers over pay is spreading to more cities, with garbage from unattended bins overflowing on to Edinburgh's high streets, raising a stink during the city's international arts and Fringe festivals.

Pay negotiations between local authorities and union leaders have been ongoing but Edinburgh's bin strikes, which began on Aug. 18, are set to continue until Tuesday, the day after the festival ends.

Similar strikes have begun in more than a dozen other regions including Aberdeen and Scotland's largest city, Glasgow.

The Unite trade union said this week a local government body had made clear no additional funds would be allocated for an improved pay deal following a rejected 5% offer.

The strikes have coincided with Edinburgh's annual Fringe festival that runs through most of August and draws millions to the Scottish capital.

"Thousands of tourists visiting the city for the ... Fringe festival getting the wrong impression of this great city," Twitter user DougKerr said on Friday, posting pictures of waste strewn near Edinburgh's Royal Mile thoroughfare.

The strikes come during a cost-of-living crisis in Britain caused by soaring inflation which has outpaced pay rises, spurring a wave of industrial action across the country.

Elsewhere across Britain, more than 115,000 Royal Mail postal workers began the first of four days of strike action on Friday.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has come under criticism from opposition politicians who accuse her government of apathy in the dispute and shifting blame on to local city councils.

Edinburgh's city council has said it was preparing a plan to start cleaning up immediately once the strikes end.

"It's absolutely disgusting going out shopping just now and seeing the rubbish all over the pavements, it's just dreadful," the BBC on Friday quoted 87-year-old Edinburgh resident Helen Sikora as saying.

(Reporting by Sachin Ravikumar; Editing by Alison Williams)