Unions warned yesterday that three years of cuts and frozen wages have put extra pressure on council workers and caused their stress levels to soar.
GMB and Unison called on employers, currently mulling a pay offer, to thaw the wage freeze.
Unison quizzed 14,000 workers and found most had been hit hard by job cuts and higher public expectations.
Almost nine in 10 council staff said they were struggling to cope and seven in 10 said work stress had affected their personal lives.
Separate research by GMB showed that a growing number of councils are paying a "living wage" of at least £1 an hour above the legal minimum.
It said that 37 local authorities in England and Wales and all 32 councils in Scotland were paying or had committed to pay a living wage.
But high inflation has caused workers' wages to be worth 15 per cent less than when the Con-Dems took office in 2010.
Unison local government secretary Heather Wakefield said: "Working in local government is like living in a pressure cooker and eventually the lid will blow off. Workers can't take any more.
"The pay freeze means it's a constant financial juggling act as red bills pile in and wages just don't match up."
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