UNION members took to the steps of County Hall in Dorchester this morning in a protest over public sector pay proposals.

Representatives of Unison and Unite unions greeted workers as they arrived at the building with a giant placard featuring Prime Minister David Cameron in a jester’s outfit.

The protest centred around the proposed one per cent pay rise for the public sector, which they claim is a cut in real terms, and the placard carried the strap line ‘don’t take us for April fools’.

Stella Crew from Unison said the protestors were getting a positive response from council staff.

She said: “We are getting a good response from people because the one per cent pay offer we have been given is so meagre.

“In effect it’s an 18 per cent cut in real terms since 2010.”

Stella said that over two thirds of local government workers earn less than the government’s ‘low pay threshold’ of £21,000 a year, while half a million were earning less than the living wage.

She said: “We are all working very hard, over and above our job descriptions but an overworked, stressed out work force struggling to make ends meet cannot provide quality services.”

The campaigners claimed that the biggest percentage of people on benefits were people in work in low paid jobs and raising pay to acceptable levels would not only reduce the benefits bill, it would also increase tax and national insurance income.

The unions are calling for a £1 an hour rise for all council and school support workers.

Stella said the demand was ‘reasonable’ and would see the local economy benefit.

She said: “Outside of urban areas most of the money spent goes back into the local economy.”