MEMBERS of the biggest local government union have rejected a 3% pay deal bringing the prospect of a councils pay strike closer.

A consultative Unison Scotland ballot found that 67% wanted to take industrial action up to and including strike action in pursuit of a the pay claim.

But an official strike ballot has now to be held before any action can take place.

With 79% rejected the pay offer with Unison has now said employers will now be invited to get back around the negotiating table.

The Unison vote means all three major council unions have now rejected the pay offer.

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Unions are due to meet the council representative body Cosla tomorrow (Friday).

A Unison Scotland spokesman said: "We will discuss the possibility of co-ordination of activity with our sister trade unions tomorrow and start to put in place the process for moving towards holding a statutory industrial action ballot."

Mark Ferguson, Unison Scotland's local government committee chairman, said: "Unison members have overwhelmingly rejected the 3% pay offer.

"They do not think it is fair that the Scottish government found £38m extra to put into teachers' pay, over and above their cost of living increase, but they have offered no additional money for low-paid local government workers.

"If Unison and other unions decide to move towards strike action, the next step will be to hold a statutory industrial action ballot."

Unison Scotland's video in calling on local government members to reject the employers’ latest pay offer.

Last month, Unite local government staff members voted by 73% in a similar ballot to reject the pay deal and, of these, 88% backed industrial action.

GMB members have also voted against the deal in a consultative ballot and are now moving to vote on strike action.

All three unions recommended members reject the pay offer, arguing council staff are being offered less than teachers, and are calling for pay parity across the local government workforce.

Cosla said the offer of a 3% increase for those earning up to £80,000 puts staff on a par with those working in the NHS and other parts of the public sector, and warned any further increase would lead to cuts to jobs and services.

All three unions are demanding parity with teachers, some of whom stand to get 10% rises under a separate pay offer supported by the Scottish Government.

Cosla say their £350m offer of a 3% rise for those earning up to £80,000, and a flat £1600 for those earning more, would offer parity with NHS workers and most other parts of the public sector, and any more could lead to cuts.