Some Pembrokeshire County Council staff face cuts of up to £5000
More than 1,000 Pembrokeshire County Council staff are facing pay cuts as the authority pushes through hugely controversial changes to wages.
Some staff are said to be losing up to £5,000.
PCC has been undertaking a pay and grading review to address "longstanding issues" relating to pay and inequality along with other local authorities.
The union Unison has been encouraging members not to sign up to the new pay, terms and conditions.
But this leaves staff in a difficult position as their right to any hardship entitlement or back pay would be withdrawn if they have not signed by the end of the month, the union added.
Unison Pembrokeshire branch chairman Janet Wyer said more than 1,000 members would be losing out.
"The average is about £2,000, but some people are taking a £5,000 cut and most are at the lower paid end.
"This is affecting people's lives, the impact on their mental health is massive.
"The trade union feels that the council could have negotiated a fairer and better model with less impact at the lower grades of pay," she added.
One worker, who asked not to be identified, is facing a cut of 25% in her wage - around £5,500 full time equivalent - taking her job grading to a level comparable to when she started work more than 10 years ago.
The worker, a single mother, said: "Devastation isn't the word.
"The stress and worry has been hanging over us for months and we're still expected to do our jobs. The lower paid are getting the cuts while the higher paid are getting the rises.
"I do fear for my future financial situation and for my daughter, if I didn't work she wouldn't be able to have swimming lessons or her gymnastics. I just managed to get by before, with extra hours, it makes me angry, I know I'm not the only single parent struggling.
"I'd probably get paid more on benefits and that's really sad to say, I don't want to live off benefits."
Unison said that the authority had "failed to engage in genuine joint working with the trade unions".
Branch secretary Vic Dennis added: "We have been inundated with queries from members some of whom are not sure how they will cope such is the reduction of income. The branch has also had queries from members where both the main earners are suffering big reductions in their pay, many are concerned they will not be able meet their household costs in future."
Council: 'We have fully consulted with unions"
Pembrokeshire County Council said that it had been working on the review for a long period and the trade unions had been "fully consulted with'.
A spokesman added that the nation agreement between the local government employers and trades unions requires every council to review its pay structure for employees covered by the National Joint Council for Local Government Services.
"The changes are necessary to address long standing issues of pay inequality within the authority's workforce - to ensure equal pay for work of equal value.
"As a result of the review, 65.9% of jobs are staying at the same level of pay; 18.3% will be paid more and 15.8% will be paid less," he added.
He said that the chief executive and directors have had a pay freeze since April 2008, and all other senior staff since April 2009.
"The council is committed to doing all it can to assist employees whose jobs are subject to pay reduction.
"These measures include an appeals process to enable employees to challenge grading decision and a compensation allowance scheme which will pay a one-off lump sum of up to £5,500 for those employees who suffer a pay reduction," added the spokesman.
For more information see www.pembrokeshire.gov.uk/payreview