SCOTLAND faces a “winter of discontent” as workers dig in over the council pay dispute, a union official has said.

On Monday, Unite instructed its members not to accept the latest pay offer from Cosla which would have equated to around £1925 extra.

However, union chiefs say this would only be around £989 for those on the lowest incomes, and that it isn’t in line with what cleansing staff in England have been offered.

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Workers initially rejected a 3.5% pay offer which kicked off the industrial action.

Last week a 5% proposal was also refused, and further strikes were announced for September, with nursery and school staff set to join the walkout.

Unite says the latest offer was a “waste of precious time”, while Cosla insisted it was “as good as it gets”.

The National: The strike action started in Edinburgh during the height of the festival seasonThe strike action started in Edinburgh during the height of the festival season

But union bosses say the offer will not be consolidated into salaries, it is non-recurring, and it fails to recognise the cost of living is projected to increase for all workers.

Wendy Dunsmore, Unite industrial officer, said that without a better offer being put on the table there was a risk that the action could escalate.

She told BBC Radio Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland programme: “We are absolutely resolute that this is going to be a winter of discontent and it will escalate but we are hoping against all hope that the Scottish Government and Cosla will see sense and get back round the table with a proper rise for the lowest paid within local authorities.”

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She also said the offer made to workers in Scotland is not the same as that offered to council staff in England and Wales, adding union members want more than a one-off payment.

Dunsmore added: “It’s not the same as what England and Wales have got.

“England and Wales will benefit from their rise next year and the year after; this is a one-off payment that is not going to be seen next year.

The National: The strikes spread to 13 other councils, including GlasgowThe strikes spread to 13 other councils, including Glasgow

“The cost-of-living crisis is not going away and neither is our workforce.

"They are determined that they are going to get a cost-of-living increase for everyone in their pay packets, not just a sweetener for this month only.”

Speaking after the latest offer was rejected on Monday, Councillor Katie Hagmann, Cosla's resources spokesperson said: "We are now at the absolute extremes of affordability and this is already an offer which is stretching our already stretched finance like never before.

“This year’s offer is significantly better and different to previous offers and would have helped to support our council workforces across the country at this difficult time.”

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Meanwhile, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said "if we could go further we would" and that all funding options had been exhausted.

The strikes began in Edinburgh on August 18 while the Fringe festival was underway, with the city centre packed with overflowing rubbish bins.

A further 13 councils joined the industrial action last week, with a total of 20 set to walk out in September. School and nursery staff from seven local authority areas are set to join them.

The National: Edinburgh's council leader Cammy DayEdinburgh's council leader Cammy Day

Cleansing staff will return to “normal service” on Tuesday, with Edinburgh’s Labour council leader warning that it “may take a while to return to normal”, adding that some areas may need to be decontaminated in line with Public Health Scotland advice.

Cammy Day said: “At first we’ll be focusing street cleansing resources on the worst affected areas of the city and to help with this we will be bringing in additional resources to supplement our in-house crews from Tuesday.”

Additional resources will be deployed to support cleaning up the city, the council said, particularly in the centre and other areas that have been most impacted by the strike.