Council workers across Scotland are being balloted for a strike over pay that could shut schools and nurseries after the summer break.
About 25,000 staff working in schools, nurseries, waste and recycling centres will be asked to consider industrial action.
The Unison and GMB unions said they were urging members to vote to strike after Finance Minister Kate Forbes refused an offer of “last-ditch talks”.
The ballot will close on 26 July.
The unions said they had called for a summit with Ms Forbes and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon in a bid to avoid strike action.
Ms Forbes wrote to Unison on Thursday and said “it would not be appropriate to interfere in these negotiations, given their devolved nature” and “respectfully declined” a meeting proposed by Cosla, the local authority body.
Unison said it intended to shut schools across Scotland when children return after the school summer break in August.
The unions also said strike action could leave waste “piling up in the streets” if workers did not get a pay increase of more than the “miserly” 2% that was currently being offered.
The Scottish government said pay settlements for council workers – apart from teachers – are the responsibility of Cosla and are determined through negotiations at the Scottish Joint Committee (SJC).