COUNCIL workers across Scotland are to be balloted on strike action after being left “in limbo” as local authority leaders delay making a pay offer, a union has announced. 

GMB Scotland and Unite’s care worker members employed by Scottish councils will receive a ballot on strike action next week, with the vote to close on June 19.

The unions have accused council leaders of time wasting and creating uncertainty among workers.

GMB Scotland members have already voted overwhelmingly in a consultative ballot to back industrial action if the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (Cosla) does not make an acceptable pay offer.

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The union said council leaders were told on Wednesday that GMB’s residential and home care workers will make a decision on strike action after no offer was received, despite being told one was due.

Workers in other areas, including waste, may also be balloted on industrial action as council leaders reputedly discuss an offer of 2%, the union said.

Keir Greenaway, GMB Scotland senior organiser in public services, said: “This offer is already far too late and, from what we have heard, is almost certain to be far too low.

“Our members have already shown great patience, but enough is enough.

“Council leaders must already suspect their offer will not be accepted but continue to waste time and inflict uncertainty.

“They claim to have no money but have made no serious attempt to persuade Scottish Government ministers to provide the money needed for a realistic, acceptable offer.

“They are leaving our members in limbo and Scots relying on frontline council services facing disruption.

“Our members in social care are among the lowest paid council workers delivering some of the most important frontline services.

“They deserve better than this. So do their colleagues, and so does every Scot relying on them to deliver the services Scotland is built on.”

Graham McNab, Unite’s industrial officer, said on Wednesday the lack of action from Cosla is “history repeating itself”.

He added: “There isn’t even an offer on the table for our local government membership to consider.

“Unite has no choice but to initiate an industrial action ballot process which will in the end force Cosla into making a credible pay offer.

“It really is a sorry state of affairs and the pay negotiation process has clearly demonstrated that is not fit for purpose.

“Let’s also be clear that the Scottish Government are equally to blame for this unacceptable situation.”

A Cosla spokesperson said it is “working hard to maintain a dialogue” with unions and workers, and has scheduled another meeting for next week.

The spokesperson added: “As our trade unions know, we are very close to making an offer, based on the mandate given by council leaders.

“We are doing all that we can to get the best possible offer on the table. It is important to reiterate that this is against the context of a flat-cash settlement from Scottish Government, which leaves very little room to manoeuvre without service reductions and job losses, which we want to avoid at all costs.”

The Scottish Government has been contacted for comment.