Thousands of council workers have rejected the latest pay offer for council workers, raising the prospect on industrial action.

GMB members across Scotland’s councils have “overwhelmingly” turned down the offer from Cosla.

The union said the ballot of more than 20,000 members resulted in 94% saying no to the 5.5% offer.

It said unless a fair offer is tabled then the matter will be escalated to a dispute.

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Last year workers including cleansing staff took strike action over pay leading to rubbish piled up in the streets of Glasgow and Edinburgh in the summer.

A deal was later reached between the unions and employers.

Keir Greenaway, GMB Scotland senior organiser for public services, said: “Given the continuing cost of living crisis, it is absolutely no surprise workers are unwilling to accept what is effectively a pay cut.

“The offer was clearly not good enough.”

He said the proposed deal was the lowest rise of any offered to local government workers across the UK and Scots staff were right to follow the GMB’s recommendation and reject it.

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The union official, added: “This offer would short-change Scots council workers by hundreds of pounds compared to colleagues in England and Wales.

“Given the strength of feeling and determination to secure a pay offer that reflects the rising cost of living, it is now imperative that Cosla and Scottish Government work together with urgency and commitment to fund a fair and acceptable offer.

“If, for whatever reason, that does not happen and happen quickly, we will waste no time in escalating this dispute to ensure serious negotiations can begin.”

Unison and Unite, the other main unions representing council workers have still to announce the result of their ballots on the offer.

Cosla has been contacted for comment.