Surrey Council is facing a three-day strike next month over its 2 per cent pay offer to staff.
Last week, Surrey’s Unison branch, which has demanded 4 per cent, voted for action on 6, 7 and 8 February unless the council agreed to binding arbitration with mediation body Acas.
But the authority looks set to stand firm on its offer, saying Unison’s claim was unaffordable.
The union, which took two days’ action last month, is convinced that Acas would find the 2 per cent offer – backdated to last April for 2006-7 and also applied to 2007-8 – unfair.
Retail price index inflation reached 4.4 per cent in December. However the council said its government grant had gone up by just 0.4 per cent in 2006-7.
The pay dispute could set the tone for national pay negotiations.