A CONTROVERSIAL new pay structure at Hampshire County Council will be put in place after a ballot of trade unionists showed overwhelming support.

Unison members, by far the largest union involved, voted 79 per cent in favour.

It means the new pay and grading structure for 27,000 staff will start next February, backdated to April 2007.

The Daily Echo has reported how some 2,000 workers, mainly men, will have their salaries cut and 6,500 others, mainly women, will have their pay increased.

Pockets of council staff are, however, still battling to stop massive cuts to their wages as part of the controversial pay review.

One worker facing a salary cut, but who asked not to be named, said: "People are so disillusioned. Morale is at an all-time low. A lot of people will just walk away from their jobs at the county at the end of the two-year pay protection."

Ken Thornber, leader of the county council, said: "Like any area within the council there are staff that gain under the proposed new pay framework, others who are unaffected and some who will be placed on pay protection."

Mr Thornber said he was pleased the Unison ballot was in favour. He said: "It ends the uncertainty our staff have been facing and we can now move ahead to implement the outcome of our pay and grading review.

"It is regrettable that not everyone will be better off. However, we have minimised the overall number of employees who are disadvantaged and recent changes to the framework put more people in a better position with the majority unaffected."

Ballot results from GMB and T&GWU are not yet known.

For the full story see today's Southern Daily Echo.