Thousands of workers across all 32 of Scotland’s councils are considering strike action over a “paltry” 2% pay offer.
Unions have said that unless negotiations reopen with a “vastly improved offer” then industrial action looks “inevitable”.
On Monday, members of the Unite and GMB unions started the process that could lead to industrial action across the country in the face of the biggest cost of living crisis in four decades.
Unite confirmed that it will ballot thousands of its members in schools and cleansing
GMB said nearly 10,000 workers could strike as it sent statutory notice to council chiefs ahead of a ballot of all members in schools, early years, waste and cleansing services.
The unions have rejected outright a 2% pay offer from the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA).
They say the rise would equate to a massive real terms pay cuts for frontline workers after inflation rose to a 40-year high.
Unite estimated more than half of Scotland’s 250,000 local authority workers are earning less than £25,000 a year for a 37-hour week.
Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “The last offer on the table from the employer was a pathetic 2%.
“Our members are not putting up with this and they will have their union’s full support in the fight for better jobs, pay and conditions in local government.”
GMB Scotland senior organiser Keir Greenaway said the pay offer would turn the cost of living crisis into a catastrophe for many working families
“Tens of thousands of the lowest paid staff in local government will go from the frontline of public service delivery to below the breadline unless their pay confronts soaring inflation and eye-watering energy bills,” he said.
A COSLA spokesperson said: “We remain in active discussions with our trade union partners.”