HUNDREDS of workers in Huddersfield are fighting for a new pay deal.
Union leaders nationally have tabled a claim to lift the pay of hundreds of thousands of council workers to a new minimum of £6 an hour.
Employers were urged to agree an increase of 4%, plus £200, to help the lowest paid among more than 1m workers in England and Wales.
The Unison union said more than 320,000 workers were on the lowest pay scales of between £5.33 and £5.53 an hour.
The union said this should be raised to £6, to help some of the worst-paid employees, including cleaners, care workers and ancillary staff.
Unison has several thousand members working for Kirklees and Calderdale councils.
Unions also pressed for increased holidays, better maternity provision and improved parental leave.
Heather Wakefield, Unison's head of local government, said: "This is a modest claim on basic pay and Unison believes that now is the time to deliver for local government workers.
"We have included additional elements covering improved maternity and parental benefits, as well as 25 days' annual leave, to bring local government workers into line with the rest of the economy and other public sector workers.
"The claim tackles low pay, equal pay and better training. It is aimed at meeting the Government's agenda for first-class public services and we hope to get a realistic response from the employers."
She added that the unions were pressing for the abolition of the lowest three pay scales. She said there should be equal pay audits in every council within two years, to make sure women were not being paid less than men for the same work.
The employers warned this week that unions should not lodge an "unrealistic" pay claim because resources were "very tight".
Brian Baldwin, chairman of the employers' side, said pay talks would have to be linked to reform and improvements in council services.
He said the employers wanted a three-year pay deal, adding that the employers' approach to boosting the pay of lower-paid workers was through improving skills and productivity.