21 July 2000
Unison has already begun issuing ballot papers to its 80,000 members after rejecting the 'first and final' offer of a 2.5% pay increase from the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities.
The Transport and General Workers Union and the GMB are expected to start balloting their 40,000 members this week.
Douglas Black, chair of Unison's Scottish local government executive, said three periods of industrial action have been proposed, including a one-day, two-day and a three-day strike.
The ballot closes on August 14, with action likely to begin on August 21.
The unions described the employers' 2.5% pay offer as 'derisory' and warned that Scottish workers would not accept less than their English and Welsh counterparts, awarded 3% in April.
But Cosla maintains that it has already offered the 'absolute maximum'. 'We have reached an impasse. The unions have made their position clear and so have we,' said a spokeswoman for Cosla.
But sources suggested that the pay dispute had come at a 'politically expedient' time for Scotland, coinciding with the spending review.
Employers have already held a series of talks with finance minister Jack McConnell in an attempt to wrest extra cash for councils while Unison has warned the government not to overlook the public services.