WASTE and recycling workers across Scotland will strike for eight days over the next four weeks. 

Nearly all of the country’s local authorities will be affected by the industrial action which will take place between August 26 and 29 and September 7 and 10.

Unison said the industrial action would only escalate "if a significantly improved pay offer is not forthcoming."

Bin workers in Edinburgh have already agreed to strike from August 18 to August 30.

Last week, the Scottish Government found an extra £140m to help pay for an enhanced offer, but COSLA have said that it still is not enough. 

Council leaders are due to meet today, to discuss what more they can do. 

GMB Scotland Senior Organiser Keir Greenaway said: “Unless COSLA and the Scottish Government make a significantly improved pay offer, more strikes will start across councils in just a few weeks.

“Both parties are squabbling while more of our members struggle with debt, fuel poverty, and hunger, exposing a huge gulf between politics and frontline workers.

"This is only increasing anger and fear among our members - anger over the lack of value shown to them and fear about what winter will bring in this cost-of-living crisis.

“Make no mistake, these strikes are a direct response from our extraordinary key workers to months of political failure.

"They are not prepared to accept working poverty as an inevitability even if Scotland’s political leaders are.”

Unison Scotland’s Johanna Baxter said: “This is the first wave of strike action which will only escalate if a significantly improved pay offer is not forthcoming.

"Strike dates for schools and early years workers will be confirmed in the coming days.

“The responsibility for this action lies squarely with the Scottish Government and COSLA, neither of whom seem to have grasped the gravity of this situation.

“Inflation is projected to be as high as 13%, the cost of living crisis is hitting people's pockets now and yet local government workers still only have a two per cent offer on the table, the lowest offer in the public sector. 

"They have had months to sort this out but all we seem to get is dither and delay."

Unison said the £140m extra from the government was “half of what COSLA asked for and goes nowhere near matching the pay offer provided to council workers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland”.

Speaking to the BBC this morning, Deputy First Minister John Swinney said local government had already had “a strong financial settlement from the Scottish Government.”

He added: “But I've listened to local government and last week I announced an extra £140m of new money to go into local government on a recurring basis to support a higher pay award for members of staff because I want to make sure members of staff in our local authorities are getting a better pay offer. 

“I want to make sure that we avoid industrial action.” 

Mr Swinney - who is covering the government’s finance brief while Kate Forbes is on maternity leave - said the money would have to be taken from another part of his budget. 

He added: “The important point to remember is that when local government came to me for additional money they recognised this was not an issue for the Scottish Government to solve in its entirety. So local government said to me, this has got to be a partnership. 

“Well, I've come forward with £140m of new money as part of a partnership arrangement. I would expect local government to match that.”

Mr Swinney said some councils had “budgeted already on a higher pay offer than they've actually offered.” 

He said: “Some local authorities have budgeted on 3% to be given to local authority employees. And they've offered 2%. So there's 1% of a difference already.”

Mr Swinney called on councils to see where else they could make savings. 

GMB members will strike in Aberdeen, Angus, Dundee, East Ayrshire, East Lothian, Falkirk, Glasgow, Inverclyde, Highland, Midlothian, Orkney, South Ayrshire, South Lanarkshire, West Lothian, Perth and Kinross, and North Lanarkshire.

Unison members in Aberdeenshire, Clackmannanshire, East Renfrewshire, Glasgow, Inverclyde, North Lanarkshire, Stirling and South Lanarkshire have also said they will walk out.

Unite Scotland this week announced 1,500 cleansing workers will walk out on August 24 and 31 unless an acceptable pay offer is made.

Unison has also said strike dates for school and early years workers will be announced in due course.