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Pay freeze makes public sector strike 'inevitable'

Council workers have suffered a three-year pay freeze, 440,000 job losses, and worsened terms and conditions

Britain's three biggest unions lamented yesterday the "inevitable" industrial action by 1.6 million council workers' after bosses refused to budge on a 1 per cent pay proposal.

Unite, Unison and GMB warned that even that proposal would be reduced because the pay deal pot would also have to fund increases in the statutory minimum wage.

A dispute with councils in England, Wales and Northern Ireland was declared by the unions on February 14 after employers cancelled pay talks.

The unions said that council workers have suffered a three-year pay freeze, 440,000 job losses, and worsened terms and conditions.

GMB national secretary for public services Brian Strutton said: "The idea that one and a half million council workers should have to sacrifice part of a paltry 1 per cent pay pot to meet their employers' statutory obligation to pay the national minimum wage is unacceptable.

"GMB and the other unions are further incensed that the employers say the pay pot is not negotiable.

"We have no choice but to begin preparations for consulting our members on industrial action."

The three local government unions have issued a scathing joint statement on the employer's pay offer.

It said they "deplore" the employers' decision to cancel planned talks and reiterated their position that a below-inflation pay offer of 1 per cent would not be acceptable to their members.

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