THE SNP has slammed Scottish Labour for voting with the Tories against a 5% pay increase for council workers, leaving council staff with an offer of a mere 3.5% increase.

The move by Labour and the Tories comes after the Scottish Government provided £140 million to Cosla last week, a sum the SNP say would have facilitated a 5% pay rise - which has now been blocked by the two parties.

The 3.5% offer has infuriated unions, whose members are now set to strike, as the smaller rise will only contribute approximately £15m whilst allowing hundreds of millions in council reserves to remain.

The SNP’s Bill Kidd says the Tories and Labour have “sold out” council workers by voting against the higher pay increase.

Kidd said: "The SNP in government and in Cosla have done their part and it is deeply disappointing, but painfully unsurprising, that Scottish Labour and the Tories have cosied up to sell out the hard-working employees that support our councils. Any industrial action will be as a result of their shameful partnership to stop council staff getting the pay they deserve.

"Labour's disgraceful refusal to back a 5% pay increase for council workers is an outright betrayal of workers and they should hang their heads in shame.

Kidd went on to accuse Scottish Labour councillors of refusing to take the fight for an improved funding deal to the UK Government, which he says has the ability to provide workers with the assistance to face "the financial pressures we are all facing right now".

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This comes as unions have announced they plan to take industrial action in the next month over the pay dispute.

GMB Scotland and Unison have said local authority employees across the country will strike in two four-day stoppages with waste and recycle workers walking out between August 26 and 29 as well as between September 7 and 10.

Johanna Baxter, head of local government at Unison Scotland, said the union was “shocked and disappointed” by the offer.

She said: “An offer of 3.5% is likely to be totally unacceptable to our reps and is some way off matching the offer made to council workers south of the border ...

"It’s an insult and our members deserve better. Cosla and the Scottish Government need to get back around the table and find a solution.”

Unison members are set to walk out in Aberdeenshire, Clackmannanshire, East Renfrewshire, Glasgow, Inverclyde, North Lanarkshire, Stirling and South Lanarkshire.

While the union considers the offer, there will be no suspension of the strike action, it has been confirmed.

Authorities where GMB members have decided to strike are 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.

Council leaders have stated their desire to make an offer of more than 2% – with the aim to increase the Scottish local government living wage to £10.50 an hour. However, fears have been expressed that public services and jobs will be impacted as a result.

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Speaking earlier on Friday, Cosla resources spokeswoman Katie Hagmann said: “Following the confirmation that the additional monies provided by the 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."

Unite Scotland this week also announced 1500 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.

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Commenting on the row, Cosla Labour Group Leader David Ross said: “The Scottish Government are responsible for 85% of Local Government funding and for a decade we have been calling out the appalling cuts while desperately trying to save jobs and vital local services. We are at the point now where we can do no more. 

"We are now at the end of that road and we’re facing a threat to the viability of Local Government. External factors may have further exacerbated the crisis, but it is a crisis that has been brought on by years of Scottish Government disdain and neglect for Local Government, the Local Government workforce and the vital services they provide ...

“Cosla Labour Leaders fully support, at a minimum, a 5% pay rise for Local Authority workers, but reiterate that we simply do not have the ability to fund the shortfall without immediately cutting services now and next year and the year after that."

Scottish Tory MSP Miles Briggs said: “We have a great deal of sympathy with council workers struggling, as so many others are, with a global cost of living crisis.

“But councils are in an impossible position, trying to make realistic pay deals and deliver basic services to taxpayers when they’ve been starved of funding for years by the SNP Government.

“Even before the savage cuts in the most recent spending review, it was clear the SNP would rather spend money on an unwanted referendum and their other obsessions than provide the resources for councils to pay their employees properly and deliver proper services."