Union bosses have called on First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to intervene urgently to settle a row over a controversial pay offer for council workers.
Pat Rafferty, the Scottish secretary of the Unite trade union, said the offer that has been made so far is “more like a slap in the face rather than a clap for local government workers”.
Unions representing local government workers are currently balloting their members to see if they would be willing to take industrial action.
Meanwhile, Mr Rafferty said the row over council workers’ pay is “escalating”.
Unite is recommending its members reject the offer on the table, which would see council workers earning less than £25,000 get an £800 rise, while those earning £25,000 to £40,000 would get a 2% increase, with those making more than this awarded 1%.
More than half (55%) of local government workers earn less than £25,000 a year, Unite said, with around three-quarters (75%) on less than the UK national average wage of £32,875.
Mr Rafferty said: “Unite has requested the urgent intervention of the First Minister into this escalating dispute over local government pay.”
He contrasted the offer made to council workers with that made to health staff, with the Scottish Government having offered many NHS employees a 4% rise on top of the £500 thank-you payment they received for their efforts during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Mr Rafferty stated: “We are in the process of balloting our members recommending a rejection of the paltry offer on the table, and to add insult to injury the majority of local government workers will not receive the £500 thank-you payment.
“This just can’t be right and after a decade of local government being starved of funds to the tune of £1bn clearly far more needs to be done to support this neglected section of our public services.
“The current pay offer is more like a slap in the face rather than a clap for local government workers.”
A spokesman for the local government body Cosla said: “We have made an offer to our trade union colleagues. This offer remains on the table whilst we continue with on-going constructive negotiations.”