Staff at Lancashire Council may take industrial action next month over proposed changes to their terms and conditions.
Trade union Unison is to ballot members after the council announced in March that it would change the essential car user allowance scheme and cut out-of-hours pay as part of its equal pay review. The changes are due to come into effect on 1 August.
But Unison regional organiser John Lewis said the proposals had generated an “unprecedented degree of anger and disappointment” among members in Lancashire.
“The pay review was anticipated, but our members have been let down by the outcome,” he said.
Lewis said care workers contracted to work weekends or evenings would face a pay cut under the new arrangement.
“If you’re paid to work a 35-hour week and you are contractually obliged to work on a Saturday, you would currently be paid time-and-a-half. If you worked on a Sunday, it would be double time,” he said.
“The proposal is to reduce that to time-and-a-quarter. If you are contractually obliged to work on a Saturday or Sunday every week, it adds up.”
On top of this, he said, many social care staff would be affected by changes to the essential car user allowance scheme.
Currently, users receive a lump sum payment to compensate for “standing charges” associated with car ownership, such as insurance, as well as a business mileage rate.
There are three bands for the lump sum payment. Most staff receive the middle band, worth £963 a year, and a mileage rate of 40.9p a mile.
The new scheme replaces the lump sum payment with a higher business mileage rate of 54p a mile, which includes standing charges.
Carol Mills, Lancashire’s director of human resources, said: “Unison representatives were part of the team that carried out the equal pay review and we believe that the new terms and conditions are fair.
“We are saddened that they have chosen to take this approach, and we still hope the unions will reconsider their position.”
Last week, Unison staff at Derby Council called off industrial action in a dispute over a change in the car allowance scheme. The union accepted a one-off payment and car pooling scheme instead of the monthly car allowance.