Rubbish will pile up in East Ayrshire’s streets, back courts and gardens unless workers receive an improved pay offer, a union has warned.

East Ayrshire is one of 13 council areas in Scotland where waste and recycling workers affiliated with the GMB union have voted in favour of industrial action.

GMB Scotland said no meaningful talks with the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (Cosla) had taken place since May, when the latest pay offer was rejected.

It said Cosla was “counting down the clock” on pay talks, and accused it of “blocking” Scottish Government intervention in the dispute.

It called on the body to return to the table with an improved offer, warning that a failure to do so could result in a repeat of scenes in the summer of 2022, when waste went uncollected in East Ayrshire for more than a week because of a strike by members of the GMB and their fellow union Unite.

Keir Greenaway, GMB Scotland senior organiser for public services, said: “Year after year, these talks have been needlessly drawn out. That leaves our members, typically the lowest paid working on the frontline of our services, without the pay rise they need. Inflation may be stabilising, but can anyone say they feel the difference?

“Council leaders refuse to have meaningful talks – all while blocking the Scottish Government’s intervention to deliver a pay offer that matches our members’ value. They are counting down the clock while our members go without.

“We hear time and time again that Scotland does public services better, but that’s not the case when the Conservatives down south have already beaten Cosla’s offer. If Cosla can’t do better, it’s time for them to bring the Scottish Government to the table to fund an improved offer.

“If not, then it’s likely that the same disruption [seen] during 2022 will happen again this year.

“Council leaders have wasted months and they’ve wasted opportunities. Our members have no time for waste which is why rubbish will pile up in councils across Scotland if a suitable offer isn’t received. We have no interest in political games when so many are struggling.”

The last strike by waste and recycling workers employed by East Ayrshire Council (EAC) saw bin collections suspended from August 24-31, 2022.

That strike also affected bin uplifts in neighbouring South Ayrshire, but this time around EAC is the only Ayrshire council set to be affected.

GMB Scotland said it had also received mandates for strike action from waste services workers in Aberdeen, Fife, North Lanarkshire, South Lanarkshire, Aberdeenshire, Edinburgh, East Dunbartonshire, Inverclyde, Midlothian, Orkney Islands, Perth and Kinross, and Stirling.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “Local government pay negotiations are a matter for local authorities as employers and unions – the Scottish Government has no formal role.

“The Scottish Government urges all parties involved to work together constructively and reach an agreement which is fair for the workforce and affordable for employers.”

Cosla has been contacted for comment.