Cornish council workers and school will be among half a million in the UK to be balloted on strike action after they rejected a one per cent pay offer.

UNISON decided to ballot hundreds of thousands of local government and school members for strike action after 70 per cent of members rejected this year's pay offer in a consultative ballot.

The pay offer would mean around 50,000 of the lowest paid local government workers receive a rise that is slightly above inflation. However the remainder of the workforce - around 90 per cent - would receive one per cent.

Local government workers covered by the offer include teaching assistants, planners, administrators, social workers and engineers.

The union says that local government workers have already endured three consecutive years of pay freezes, followed by below-inflation rises in 2013 and 2014, leaving their pay reduced by almost 20 per cent since the Coalition came to power.

UNISON's head of local government, Heather Wakefield, said: "Our members have made it clear that this pay offer is the straw that breaks the camel's back after years of pay freezes and below-inflation rises.

"This offer is effectively another pay freeze for the majority of our local government and school members, and they have used this consultation to send a strong message that it is insulting and unacceptable.

"Local government workers have kept services running in our communities in the face of the Government's harsh austerity agenda, and they deserve more than just a bare minimum pay increase."