RUBBISH could pile up on the streets of Clackmannanshire, a trade union warned as it began balloting members for potential strike action.

Waste, recycling and street cleaning staff in trade union UNISON are being balloted for strike action in an ongoing dispute over pay.

The union’s Clackmannanshire branch confirmed the ballot is open and will be closing on July 17 as part of a national dispute over pay with COSLA.

Earlier in June, thousands of workers across Scotland have overwhelmingly rejected a two-stage pay offer by the employer organisation, which would have operated over an 18 month period.

The offer would have given a 2.2 per cent increase for the first six months and an additional two per cent until September next year.

Kevin McIntyre, branch secretary for UNISON Clackmannanshire, told the Advertiser: “It is a disgrace that UNISON members are having to contemplate strike action for a third successive year just to get a reasonable pay offer from COSLA.

“No one wants to see the disruption to key council services, let alone our members, however, the employers’ continued refusal to negotiate a settlement leaves us with little choice.

“Waste and street cleansing staff in Clackmannanshire are being balloted to take part in a programme of strikes across Scotland which will see rubbish pile up in our streets.

“This disruption will highlight the key role our members play in keeping our streets clean and safe and we can only hope COSLA and the Scottish Government get back around the table to negotiate a fair pay increase for UNISON members before any strikes take place."

It is understood strikes could take place as part of a rolling programme in August and September.

Furthermore, support staff in schools and in early years centres may also be balloted for industrial action once the school holidays are over.

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A COSLA spokesperson said: “COSLA has made a strong offer at the limits of affordability for councils.

“In the context of lowering inflation and a ‘flat cash’ budget settlement from Scottish Government, it remains important to reward our valued workforce appropriately.

“We urge our unions to reconsider their decision to reject the offer.

“We are disappointed that industrial action is being contemplated by our unions and concerned that it appears to be targeted at waste services, once again raising potential public health risks.

“We respect our unions’ role in seeking to obtain the best pay settlement they can for their members.

“We reiterate that we remain committed to doing the best by our workforce who deliver essential local services in every community across Scotland.”