Public services in Birmingham are expected to be severely disrupted tomorrow as local authority trade unions stage a one-day strike.
More than 20,000 city council employees have been ordered to stay at home in protest at a pay and grading review which will see just over 4,000 staff suffer a wage cut, some by more than £16,000 a year.
The stoppage is due to go ahead despite more than 500 binmen and street cleaners defying union advice and voting decisively to accept an £8,000-a-year pay rise, which will still leave them worse off under the review.
Councillor Alan Rudge (Con Sutton Vesey), the cabinet member for equalities and human resources, who brokered the deal for binmen and street cleaners, was continuing talks over the weekend to try and resolve the dispute but a walkout seems inevitable.
Many schools may be forced to close if teaching assistants, dinner ladies and cleaning teams walk out. Libraries, leisure centres and council offices are also likely to be closed.
The meeting of the full council, which also takes place tomorrow, could also be affected, with councillors having to cross picket lines.
Five unions- Unite, Unison, Amicus, GMB and UCATT - are involved in the dispute but it emerged last week that only 4,462 out of 40,000 workers affected by the pay shake-up had actually voted to strike.
Although up to 70 per cent of those taking part in the ballots supported industrial action, a little under a quarter of union members entitled to vote actually did so.