Council workers in Bolton will be balloted for strike action after more than 80 per cent of Unison members voted to reject a one per cent pay rise offer.

The union, which represents public sector workers, says there is anger over the pay increase which will mean the lowest paid staff would receive a rise only slightly above inflation.

The move is part of a national industrial action ballot in England, Wales and Northern Ireland by local government workers. If members vote to strike, it is anticipated the industrial action will start in July.

Andrea Egan, assistant branch secretary, said Bolton public sector workers had spoken loudly and clearly against the one per cent pay offer.

She said: “This anger has come from across the board. It includes cleaners, caretakers, refuse workers, care staff, social workers, planning officers and people in the contact centre who have all said that enough is enough.

"No one likes the idea of striking, but people are prepared to fight for a decent pay rise.”

In January, union members lobbied the council to increase employees’ pay by £1 an hour to help them cope with the rising cost of living. In February, Bolton Council committed to spending £400,000 to boost the pay of their lowest earners to the living wage.

The call for industrial action has received the support of the general workers’ union GMB, and Sean Warren, the union’s convenor, said they would be working closely with Unison colleagues.

He said: “The overwhelming response that we have had from rank and file GMB members here in Bolton has been very much in favour of taking action against the one per cent offer.

"We keep hearing that we are out of recession and that wages are now rising faster than living costs. That is certainly not the experience of public service workers here in our town.”

Unison members are invited to attend an open meeting about the strike at the Lancaster Suite in the Town Hall on Tuesday, May 27, from 4.30pm until 5.30pm.

Sessions will also take place on Wednesday, May 28, at 7am in Wellington Yard, and from 12.30pm until 1.30pm at the Library Lecture Theatre in Central Library, Le Mans Crescent.