Unison has accepted the 2.475% average increase in pay for council staff offered by the government and employers for 2007-8.
Just over half of those members who voted supported industrial action. The union said the majority was too small to mount “sustained action”.
But Unison warned the government and local authorities it would be looking for a significantly improved deal for 2008-9 if future action was to be averted.
Healther Wakefield, head of local government at Unison, said: “Members have told employers that these critically important issues will not go away. This is effectively our members’ fourth consecutive annual pay cut and they have decisively put government and local authority employers into the last chance saloon.”
Unison balloted after employers refused to meet its demands for an above-inflation pay raise in 2007-8 for council staff in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. About 60% of this group are paid under £16,000 a year, including many domiciliary workers.
However, the Local Government Association welcomed Unison’s decision and said low-paid staff would benefit more than most. It added that the fact only a quarter of Unison members voted in the ballot showed there was little appetite for action.
Nick Johnson, chief executive of the Social Care Association, said he thought the settlement was a good one for care workers considering the financial difficulties many councils were facing in adult social care.