COUNCIL workers are being balloted on industrial action in a dispute over pay.

Trade union Unison is urging its members to to take part in the ballot.

They are being asked if they will support industrial action as part of a pay campaign to reject a pay offer of 1.75 per cent or 2.75 per cent for those on the lowest pay scale.

The ballot covers care workers, library staff, social workers, refuse collectors, trading standards officers, market porters, school support staff and other workers delivering key services,.

Unison is currently consulting 375,000 members employed by local authorities in England, Northern Ireland and Wales in a postal ballot.

Christine Collins, a Bolton Council care worker said:“A lot of people working in the public service sector are really struggling financially.

“Many workers are low-paid women who keep seeing their pay frozen year in, year out, yet basic living costs are spiralling up and up.

"Electricity and gas bills have shot up, so has the cost of petrol and other essentials. People are worrying about keeping a roof over heads, it shouldn’t be like this. It’s important that Unison members take part in this ballot”.

Andrea Egan, Bolton Unison branch secretary and joint vice president of the union nationally added: “The cost of living crisis is hitting low paid workers hardest.

"This comes after years of pay freezes. Since 2010 the value of council and school workers’ pay has fallen by a staggering 25 per cent.

"We have appealed to the employers and the government to back council workers and ensure they get decent pay increase. We are asking people to vote yes for action on pay together we can deliver a powerful message and say that enough is enough”.

Jayne Clarke, assistant branch secretary, added:“Council and schools workers have worked really hard throughout the pandemic of the past 20 months.

"People feel that the pay offer is a real insult. By now all members should have received a voting pack which includes a ballot paper and a freepost return envelope.

"We are campaigning for members to vote yes for action on pay, but it is really important that everyone takes part in the ballot, whatever their views. Every vote counts”.

Unison members who have not yet received a ballot paper can request a new one until noon on January 10 by calling 0800 0 857 857 and quoting their membership number. Completed ballot papers will need to posted back to arrive by the January 14 deadline.