Thousands of council workers could down tools in the new year after throwing out their employer’s pay offer.

Unison members in Renfrewshire and East Renfrewshire are moving towards strike action after rejecting CoSLA’s offer to increase salaries by three per cent.

A total of 79 per cent of members voted against the pay deal, with 67 per cent of them backing industrial action, up to and including a walkout.

Last month, local government staff from the Unite union voted by 73 per cent in a similar ballot to reject the pay deal, with GMB members also voting against the deal in a consultative ballot.

All three unions recommended members reject the pay offer, arguing that council staff are being offered less than teachers and calling for pay parity across the local government workforce.

Officials from Unison, GMB and Unite met with CoSLA on Friday to inform them of the results of their ballots.

The next step would involve holding a statutory industrial action ballot, which is expected to confirm strike action as the preferred move.

Mark Ferguson, Renfrewshire branch secretary for Unison, said: “I would expect we would have a result towards the end of the year and, if it’s in favour of industrial action, that would probably be in the new year.

“If we can go before, we will.”

Mr Ferguson added it is “unfair” that additional money for “low-paid local government workers” has not been found.

CoSLA indicated its “disappointment” at the decision by union members to reject the pay offer.

Councillor Gail Macgregor, spokeswoman for the organisation, said: “We value our workforce and our three per cent offer matches other offers within the public sector in Scotland.”

The Scottish Government has come under fire for finding cash for teachers, which could see some get pay rises of up to 10 per cent pay, without stepping in to support local government workers.

However, a spokesman said it values the contribution of all local authority staff.

He added: “Pay for local government employees, other than teachers, is negotiated between the unions and CoSLA. The Scottish Government is not part of that process.”