Unison has begun sending out ballot papers to its local government members asking them whether they want to strike over this year’s pay offer.
The move follows an offer of a 1% pay rise for council workers who earn £7.71 an hour or more and slightly more for those earning less that the union’s members rejected in an earlier ballot.
The ballot will ask 600,000 Unison members in England, Wales and Northern Ireland if they want to take industrial action over the pay offer. The ballot ends on 23 June.
If the members vote yes to strikes, Unison plans to start industrial action in July.
“The overwhelming decision by Unison’s local government and school members to reject this year’s pay offer and move to a strike ballot is a clear sign of the strength of feeling amongst our members over the issue of pay,” said Heather Wakefield, Unison’s head of local government.
“All local government and school workers deserve to be paid at least the Living Wage.”
The union has said it wants a minimum increase of £1.20 an hour.
It says that more than half of that increase would be recovered through tax and National Insurance.