Finance Secretary Derek Mackay announced a public-sector pay deal that provides a pay rise of 3% for those earning up to £36,500.
It also caps both the pay bill at 2% for people earning between £36,500 and £80,000, and any increase for those earning more than £80,000 to £1,600.
STUC general secretary Grahame Smith said the plan fails to recognise the “urgency” of increasing the pay of public-sector workers.
He said: “We are deeply disappointed that Mr Mackay’s public-sector pay policy does nothing to make amends for a decade of pay cuts for public workers.
“Better pay means better services and more demand to boost local economies.
“The Scottish Government has failed to recognise the urgency of this issue.
“Given the pressures on the Scottish economy and the need to support living standards, the Finance Secretary should have been bolder, using the powers at his disposal to properly resource the public sector and provide the economic stimulus the economy needs.”
The Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) said Mr MacKay appeared to have reneged on assurances to begin restoring public servants’ wages.
PCS National Officer Lynn Henderson said: “Mr MacKay promised his own staff that the wage decline they have suffered as a result of austerity was over and that last year’s scrapping of the 1% cap represented the first step in a journey towards restoring pay.
“Not only has that journey stalled at the first step, workers across the Scottish civil and public services will feel betrayed by today’s announcement.
“Plenty of us expect broken promises from the Tories but in good faith we took the Cabinet Secretary at his word.
“Our members have lost hundreds of millions of pounds in pay over ten years and the impact on their living standards has been cruel and severe. 3% this year just isn’t good enough.
“The Scottish Government needs to show some courage here to defy Tory instability and insecurity and give public sector workers the wage they deserve, or otherwise face the consequences of this broken promise.”
Mike Kirby, Unison Scotland secretary, said: “Public-sector pay rose by just 4.4% between 2010 and 2016 while the cost of living rose by 22%.
“So today’s public sector pay increase of 3% may monitor inflation but fails to restore massive cuts in earnings since 2010.
“Equally, the Government could have used procurement guidelines to address low pay and the living wage in the voluntary sector.”
Mr Mackay said: “Unlike the UK Government, we have chosen to use the levers at our disposal to boost our economy and support our public services.
“This is a reasonable and affordable public-sector pay approach, and continues on a journey of restoration of public sector pay.
“Our commitment to public sector workers is part of our commitment to high quality public services.”