Council staff face third year of pay freezes

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 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. Council employers blamed the "unprecedented" move on rising costs and shrinking funding for council services.

Sarah Messenger, head of workforce at the LGA, said: "This has been a very difficult decision to make but it is the right one for council taxpayers and the workforce as a whole.

"A combination of rising costs and shrinking local government funding means councils were left with little choice."

Unite national officer Peter Allenson said local government workers were under "sustained attack", adding: "Staff have endured a decade of below-inflation pay increases and freezes. Now attacks on pensions, conditions and massive job cuts have heaped misery upon misery."

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