Birmingham Council staff will go on strike tomorrow in protest to changes to their pay and conditions despite last-minute talks between council and union leaders.
With just hours to go before the planned one-day walkout, representatives from Unison, GMB, Unite, Amicus and UCATT were locked in negotiations with the council to resolve the dispute.
It is estimated about 20,000 of the council’s 40,000-strong workforce will not turn up for work on Tuesday, a move which is likely to bring severe disruption to the city’s public services.
The dispute is centred on a new pay and grading structure aimed at reducing wage inequalities, due to come into force on April 1, under the local government-wide single status agreement.
Birmingham is accused of cutting the salaries of about 4,500 mainly female staff, with individual pay cuts of up to £18,000, while awarding the majority of pay rises to male workers.
Tony Rabaiotti, head of local government for Unison in the West Midlands, said about two-thirds of the “losers” under the new pay deal would be female council employees.
“The payscale is fundamentally inequitable and will not deliver equality for women in the council. In order to move this forward, the council should take the deal off the table.”
Councillor Alan Rudge, cabinet member for human resources and equalities, who has been in talks with the unions since Friday, has said staff are getting a “fair, modern and equitably pay structure”.
A rally is due to take place outside the council’s offices between 12pm and 2pm tomorrow.