UNIONS opened a ‘low pay soup kitchen’ on the steps of Bolton Town Hall to show how council cuts are affecting their members.

The public sector union Unison and the Bolton branch of General Trade Union (GMB) held a joint rally and gave out soup and a roll to passers-by for three hours.

The campaign is to highlight their fight for a pay increase of £1 an hour across the board to all council workers this financial year.

Bolton Council’s budget for 2014/15 will be set later this month and is expected to offer its employees a one per cent rise.

Bernadette Gallager, Bolton Unison branch secretary, said they want a living wage for the lowest paid, and want the government to ensure councils have the money to fund the rise.

She added: “We had an excellent response on Victoria Square as we gave out leaflets and cups of soup to passers-by.

“People kept saying ‘good luck’ and ‘good on you when we talked about our pay campaign.”

“Our members in local government have had years of pay freezes and one per cent rises, yet basic living costs have rocketed. We know that we can’t carry on like this.”