Local authorities are facing the threat of industrial action after announcing that 1.6 million council workers are to have their pay frozen for the third year in a row.
Unions reacted furiously after being told by the Local Government Association (LGA) that more jobs and services would be cut if they ended a two-year pay freeze for workers across England, Wales and Northern Ireland in April.
Officials branded the decision a “disgrace” and warned of industrial action if the issue is not taken to a tribunal.
Sarah Messenger, head of workforce at the LGA, said: “A combination of rising costs and shrinking local government funding means councils were left with little choice. Increasing pay would mean more job losses and cuts to the services people need.”
Brian Strutton, national officer of the GMB, warned that his union would consult its members over industrial action if employers refused to go to arbitration.
“The politicians who lead local councils are a disgrace to the workforces they employ for offering no pay rise for the third consecutive year while feathering their own nests.
“Council leaders’ pay has shot up and councillors vote themselves higher allowances while the carers, dinner ladies, dustmen, social workers, school support staff and all the other council workers serving their communities will have seen their pay fall in real terms by over 15 per cent.”