Activists fighting low pay demonstrated outside Cheshire West and Chester Council’s headquarters calling for all local government workers to be paid a living wage.

Trade union Unison says council staff have suffered an 18% cut in wages since 2010 because of a three year pay freeze and a below-inflation pay rise of just 1% last year.

Ray McHale, from West Cheshire Trades Council, said: “The protest was part of a national protest raising awareness about the local government pay claim due on April 1 and that local government pay has fallen far behind the rest of the public sector.

“The amazing thing is that the university is on strike over pay tomorrow (Thursday, February 6) and their cleaners get paid £7.45 an hour, which is £1 an hour more than those in the council.

“The claim is for £1 an hour extra across the board to try and bring pay up towards the Living Wage of £7.65. The Living Wage has been calculated by the Living Wage Foundation founded by the Rowntree Foundation. The Living Wage is what they think is necessary to get by on a reasonable basis.”

Mr McHale, a former local government worker and Unison official, said some council staff were only on 14p an hour more than the minimum wage of £6.31 and if talk of boosting the minimum wage came to fruition then three grades of council employees would be affected.

One of the smallest companies to pay the Living Wage to all full and part-time staff is Mickle Trafford-based Antique Pine Imports in Station Lane.

A spokesman said: “We believe that everyone who works for us makes a valuable contribution regardless of their position or experience. And they’re entitled to something straightforward in return – a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work.”