UNIONS representing council workers have submitted claims for a 10 percent pay rise for all staff.

Unison, Unite, and the GMB, which have members in town halls across Cumbria, are also calling for a two-hour cut in the working week, an extra day in annual leave and a minimum hourly pay rate of £10.

Unison said austerity had led to pay cuts of 22 percent in real terms, increased workloads, a long-hours culture and staff doing unpaid overtime.

Pay and conditions for council staff are negotiated between the unions and the National Employers.

However, any pay talks will now not take place until after the General Election on December 12.

Jon Richards, for Unison, commented: “Council staff have been at the sharp end of cuts for a decade. Huge job losses and dwindling resources have put a massive burden on council and school workers who keep services running while finding it harder to make ends meet. Any new government must fix the damage and that begins with proper funding for local authorities in order to protect jobs, pay staff properly and ensure communities don’t suffer.”

Steve Atkinson, who lives near Swarthmoor, represents the Is It Fair group which campaigns against council tax and has challenged councils in Cumbria over pension payments made to staff.

Mr Atkinson said the pay claim was ‘unrealistic bordering on the outrageous’.

“On top of salary staff are paid very lucrative pensions funded by the taxpayer in the private sector who don’t have a decent pension of their own.”