Unions have reacted with outrage after town hall bosses have announced a pay freeze for 1.6 million council workers, including refuse collectors, in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The Local Government Association has said that employees will not be offered an increase in pay from April to protect vital front-line services and help minimise the need for job losses.
In a press statement the LGA stated that local government employees have decided they are not able to award an annual pay rise to employees in local authorities in recognition of the extremely tight financial situation facing councils.
Unison local government head Heather Wakefield said: The employers decision to cut our members pay without negotiation is a slap in the face for hard working council employees who have kept local communities together through the crisis.
Two thirds already earn less than £18k a year. Last year, George Osborne, Tory Shadow Chancellor said the Tories would not freeze pay for those earning in this pay bracket, now the Tory LGA is doing just that.
Our members are already covering posts left vacant by wide-spread redundancies. 75 per cent of the workforce are women so this is an outright attack on womens pay.
The LGA explained that the decision to not increase local government employees pay had been taken after extensive consultation with local authorities.
Local Government Employers managing director Jan Parkinson said: The decision not to offer employees an increase in basic pay this year has not been taken lightly. Councils are facing a perfect storm of falling revenues and increasing demand for services. Up and down the country councils have already been forced to cut thousands of jobs to balance the books.
Hard-working public servants do a sterling job keeping services running. Councils are facing difficult choices this year and have to ask their workforce to recognise the need to keep vital front-line services going and protect jobs wherever they can.
GMB National Secretary Brian Strutton added: Council workers will be absolutely furious about this and Im personally appalled at the arrogance of the employers. There has been no discussion, no negotiation just a political decision by Conservative controlled local Government.
We will now hold an urgent meeting of the trade union side to determine our plan of action. I guarantee the mood will be very angry.