Hundreds of school, waste services and cleansing staff in East Ayrshire could go on strike just as schools go back after unions launched a ballot on a ‘paltry’ two per cent pay increase offer.

Nearly 10,000 council workers could take strike action later this summer over the pay offer, which has been slammed by the GMB and Unison trade unions.

described by the GMB union as “paltry” given the ongoing cost of living crisis.

Both GMB and Unison members have been balloted, though Around 2,200 staff across East and South Ayrshire Councils could be affected, although But East Ayrshire Council says that while 1,400 employees work in the departments highlighted, less than one in three was ‘eligible’ for strike action.

The ballot will run until Tuesday, July 26.

GMB Scotland senior organiser Keir Greenaway said a two per cent pay increase would “turn a 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.

“Let’s be clear. A pay rise of just two per cent for the workers earning under £25,000 a year is worth no more than a tenner a week. It will

and there is no trade union worth its salt that would leave that unchallenged.”

Unison’s Johanna Baxter added: ““The fact they will not sit down with COSLA and the trade unions to try and find a solution is a kick in the teeth to all local government workers.

“They have forgotten already who was educating our children, cleaning our communities, caring for our vulnerable and burying our dead throughout the pandemic. Local government workers keep society running. ”

In response Amanda Lowe, head of people and culture, East Ayrshire Council said: “We have around 1,400 employees in these staff groups, and approximately 430 who are trade union members and who are therefore eligible to take part in strike action.

“It is still early days, since the ballot doesn’t close until end of July. This means thatA t the moment we don’t have any indication of actual numbers and cannot anticipate the full impact at this stage.

“In the meantime, the appropriate heads of service are aware of the potential strike action and will review their contingency plans and prepare as necessary.”

A spokesperson for South Ayrshire Council said: “Approximately 790 employees may be affected by the strike.

“We are unable to comment on the impact to service delivery as this is currently being reviewed.”