Trade union members of Poole council have voted by three to one in favour of a new pay structure that will see some losing thousands of pounds in salary.

Members of Unison and the GMB voted in a ballot to accept the equal pay proposal, which brings Borough of Poole into line with national legislation.

The ballot of union members, who make up around 38 per cent of 3,700 affected staff, comes at the end of a four-year review of pay scales.

Under the proposals 13 per cent will lose pay, 26 per cent will enjoy an increase and the majority will not be affected.

One employee who is set to lose £3,000 from his salary of nearly £19,000 said: “We feel very let down. We were told it was not going to affect us.”

A loader, who empties wheelie bins, he said their hours were being cut and routes extended and in protest they were slowing down by not running and taking one bin at a time.

“We are not asking for a big pay rise, we just want to keep our money,” he said.

Following the results of the ballot, a joint statement was issued.

“Borough of Poole and the trade unions, Unison and GMB, are pleased to be able to confirm that there is a positive result from the ballot held in respect of the equal pay proposals,” it said.

“We all see this as a very clear endorsement that this is an equitable and fair settlement to deliver equal pay.

“The final step in the process is for the chief executive of Borough of Poole to exercise his delegated authority on behalf of the council to confirm the collective agreement with Unison and GMB. Work to implement the agreement will take several months.

“This agreement is the culmination of a huge amount of work by the council and union representatives involved in negotiations. It reflects the sound employee relations and co-operation that exist between the council and the trade unions.”

The entire exercise will cost £1.8 million to implement and it affects those earning £12,000 to £53,000.