A union boss has hit out at the “failures at all levels of government” as local authority workers vote on strike action amid an ongoing pay dispute.

GMB Scotland’s comments come in response to a 2% pay increase offer against all council pay grades for 2022/23.

Almost 10,000 workers across waste and cleansing and school and early years services will be asked if they back the strikes in the face of a Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (Cosla) pay offer.

Keir Greenaway, GMB Scotland senior organiser, hit out at the offer which amounts to less than £10 a week for staff earning under £25,000 per year.

The union wrote to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Finance Secretary Kate Forbes last week seeking urgent talks and warned about the consequences for council workers of significant below inflation pay amid the cost-of-living crisis.

In the joint letter, signed by UNISON, Unite and GMB, Ms Sturgeon and Ms Forbes were told industrial action “would close schools across the country and see waste piling up on the streets” if a resolution was not reached.

The ballot begins on Monday and runs until Tuesday, July 29, and comes after the Scottish Government’s spending review which forecasted a real-terms cut in local authority funding.

The Herald:

Mr Greenaway said: “Council workers and the vital services they deliver are firmly in the sights of Kate Forbes’ cuts agenda, and if left unchallenged the lowest paid will pay the price in the biggest cost-of-living crisis for 40 years.

“This is what years of failure at all levels of government looks like – a decade of failed austerity, the passing on of cuts to communities, and a meek acceptance of the consequences locally.

“It’s a far cry from the doorstep applause of virtue-signalling political leaders just two years ago.

“It shows everyone there are no political superheroes and if you want wages that confront soaring inflation then you need to organise and fight for it.

“That’s exactly what our members are doing and unless an improved pay offer is tabled then industrial action looks inevitable.”

A Cosla spokesman said: “Cosla values the essential roles that all local government workers carry out on a daily basis. We remain in active discussions with our trade union partners.”