A UNION claims pay cuts at Hampshire County Council will hit female, black, and ethnic minority staff the hardest.
Unison says the reduction of staff contractual entitlements to premium rates for overtime and weekend working are discriminatory.
They say the pay cuts will primarily hit low-paid staff, impact much more severely on women than on men and affect more than 50 per cent of the council’s black and minority ethnic staff compared to only 12 per cent of its white staff.
The matter has been referred to the Equalities and Human Rights Commission.
The council has sent out letters to all 5,112 staff affected asking that they agree to move voluntarily to the new contracts.
The union says many staff have complained of being misinformed and pressurised into accepting the new terms and they say the council intends to send out dismissal notices to all staff who have as yet not agreed to accept the new contracts. Unison advised staff not to sign to agree acceptance until further notice.
The cuts will save £3.8 million a year which Unison says represents only 2.9 per cent of the reserves held by the council of more than £130 million.
In January the council announced 1,200 job cuts across the authority.