WORKERS are being balloted for targeted strike action in Wee County schools and in waste services, a trade union has confirmed.

UNISON has last week served notice to Clackmannanshire Council with the ballot open until July 26.

It comes as part of an ongoing pay dispute between trade unions and local authorities after COSLA offered staff a two per cent pay increase.

Trade unionists have called for a rise that keeps low paid workers "above the poverty line", pointing to inflation rising to 11 per cent.

Pamela Robertson, UNISON Clackmannanshire branch secretary, said: "Local government workers kept the country running throughout the pandemic, often by putting themselves in harms way.

"They kept childcare hubs open for other key workers, they looked after our elderly and disabled and they buried our dead.

"Most of the workers on the front lines are low paid and they deserve a pay rise that keeps them above the poverty line."

UNISON has warned the Scottish Government that if the pay dispute is not resolved swiftly, schools across the country will close and waste will pile up on the streets.

A spokesperson for the government told the Advertiser it is not involved in pay settlements for council workers, but added: "Council staff play a crucial role in our communities as we rebuild the economy following the pandemic.

"We would encourage the parties to maintain dialogue and stay at the table to reach agreement."

At the same time, COSLA expressed disappointment last week after ministers refused a request for all council leaders to engage in discussions regarding the current settlement for local government.

The umbrella body explained the implications of the spending plans are deeply concerning for communities and have further increased the likelihood of industrial action in the coming months.

Gail Macgregor, resources spokesperson, said: "COSLA, every year, argues for fair funding for local government to maintain the essential services our communities rely on.

"No increase in our core funding damages these services and limits the options we have in successfully concluding pay negotiations.

"Refusal to engage in discussion will only see this continue and our communities will see and feel the difference."

A consultative ballot earlier in April revealed that almost 90 per cent of workers are in favour of taking action.

Andrew Kane, UNISON Clackmannanshire chair, added: "For many years councils have found themselves at the back of the queue when it comes to funding from the Scottish Government.

"After many years of well below inflation level pay rises our members deserve an offer that will allow them to at least pay their extortionate electricity and gas bills and put food in the mouths of their children.

"It's time for the Scottish Government and COSLA to reconsider their positions and come back to the table with an improved offer."

Clackmannanshire Council has been contacted for a response.