The Unison union is urging council workers across England and Wales to reject the employers 2.45 percent pay offer.
The NJC negotiating body of the union has recommended that its 850,000 members in local government reject the offer.
It has started a major consultation exercise which will end on 7 May.
Unison’s head of local government Heather Wakefield said, “This year’s pay negotiations have been dogged by the government’s 2 percent pay cap.
“While this offer is above this level, it is not enough to help our members cope with the huge rises in the cost of food, fuel and housing.”
The consultation document makes it clear that in rejecting, workers will be committing themselves to escalating strike action starting with a two-day strike.
The local government employers have made their “final” pay offer to 1.4 million workers of 2.45 percent plus £100 for the lowest grades.
The Unite and GMB unions are consulting on the pay offer, with the GMB set to hold a national shop stewards meeting on 24 April.
The three unions representing local government workers in Scotland have rejected a pay offer made by council leaders.
The deal would have given local authority workers a pay rise of 2.5 percent for each of the next three years.
The unions said it was less than inflation and did not address losses suffered by members over recent years.
A total of 220,000 local government workers would have been affected by the deal. The GMB said the rejection of the offer placed the unions on course to take industrial action.
Dougie Black of Unison Scotland said, “If you want first class public services, cutting the pay of public sector workers is the wrong way to go about it.”