SCOTLAND’S council leaders have increased their offer to the lowest-paid workers in a bid to stave off industrial action. 

After the Scottish Government found local authorities an extra £140m a year to help with the wage bill, COSLA agreed to boost the hourly living wage rate from £9.78 an hour to £10.50, an increase of 7 per cent. 

But despite the bump for those earning the least, the umbrella body for the 32 councils has said raising the pay of everyone else by more than 2% could ultimately lead to cuts and redundancies unless ministers “provide funding and flexibilities to enable an offer beyond the monies provided to date.”

Earlier in the day, Deputy First Minister John Swinney had made clear that there would be no extra cash coming from St Andrew’s House. 

Speaking to the BBC, he said local government had already had “a strong financial settlement from the Scottish Government.”

Mr Swinney - who is covering the government’s finance brief while Kate Forbes is on maternity leave - said the money he had already promised 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, as 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.”

The terse negotiations came as unions announced that refuse workers across Scotland will strike for eight days at the end of the month. Other council workers have also indicated their willingness to take industrial action. 

READ MORE: Eight days of bin strikes across Scotland

COSLA's Resources Spokesperson, Cllr Katie Hagmann said: “Following the confirmation that the additional monies provided by Scottish Government will be recurring, leaders have now mandated me today to move forward with our trade union partners on the basis of an offer that raises the Scottish Local Government Living Wage to £10.50.

“Leaders have reaffirmed their aspiration to make an offer greater than the initial 2% but note the risk that public services will not recover, jobs will be affected and communities will see services reduced as Local Government budgets are unable to sustain the long term pressures they have been under.

“Leaders continue to call on Scottish Government to provide funding and flexibilities to enable an offer beyond the monies provided to date. As such we will be seeking to make an improved offer via the appropriate negotiating mechanisms as soon as possible.”

Earlier, the GMB had said that workers would strike in "just a few weeks" unless there was "significantly improved pay offer."

Senior organiser Keir Greenaway said COSLA and the Scottish Government were "squabbling while more of our members struggle with debt, fuel poverty, and hunger, exposing a huge gulf between politics and frontline workers."

He added: “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.”

Despite Cllr Hagmann being an SNP councillor, the SNP group on COSLA criticised the offer. They called on the UK government to “provide everyone with more resources.”