A quarter of a million local government workers would get a 1% pay rise next year under the terms of a new offer put to trade unions, council leaders have announced.
The proposal would see all 252,000 local government staff have their basic pay increased by 1% from April.
A guaranteed living wage of £7.50 an hour would also be introduced for the sector's lowest paid workers, said council umbrella body Cosla. This is said to represent a 4% pay increase for 17,000 local government employees.
The moves would end the pay freeze across Scotland's 32 local authorities. Council leaders said the offer represents the "best possible deal" for workers in difficult times. Cosla unveiled details of the proposal following a meeting with trade unions in Edinburgh on Thursday afternoon.
Councillor Billy Hendry, Cosla's human resources spokesman, said: "In very difficult circumstances we are offering our whole workforce a 1% pay increase and, in addition to this, we have bolstered the pay of our lowest paid workers to £7.50 per hour.
"Today's offer brings to an end the current pay freeze across Scotland's councils. It shows that councils value their workforce and are doing the right things to support them through tough times.
"Our offer will see pay for all 252,000 staff working in Scottish local government increase by 1% from April 2013, and introduce a guaranteed Scottish local government living wage of £7.50 per hour for our lowest paid workers.
"Councils have worked hard in very difficult circumstances to put together the best possible deal for their workforce, particularly for those at the lower end of the pay scale. Today's landmark offer is therefore important because it not only ends the current pay freeze but because it offers a sectoral best deal to our lowest paid employees."
Cosla said the living wage offer is the best in the UK outside London. Four-fifths of the 17,000 workers to benefit from the proposed rise are women.
The living wage is calculated according to the basic cost of living in the UK. At £7.50, the proposed Scottish local government living wage is 5p above the living wage rate announced by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation earlier this month. The current national minimum wage for staff aged 21 and over is £6.19 per hour.