A Scrooge-like pay slash has hit hundreds of council workers – three weeks before Christmas.
Milton Keynes Council posted out letters to the homes of 1,128 employees on Saturday informing them their salary was being reduced.
It is understood some will lose as much as £7,000 a year.
The £150,000 salary of the chief executive David Hill has not been cut and his senior management team is also not affected.
The move is the result of a lengthy job evaluation exercise carried out in consultation with the council’s trade unions.
One employee told the Citizen: “We’ll be doing exactly the same jobs for less money.
“It wouldn’t be so bad if the council had just frozen our salaries but a straight cut will affect people with young families and is wrong.
“To tell us just before Christmas is especially cruel.”
The pay evaluation, which has reduced the gap between the average earnings of men and women, means 27 per cent of the workforce will have wage cuts from April next year.
Salaries of the remaining 3,014 employees will either remain unchanged or, for a lucky proportion, be increased.
Teachers and youth workers are unaffected by the changes but school support staff received good news with 90 percent allocated a basic pay rise.
A council spokesman confirmed the salaries of chief officers and senior managers, some of whom earn £100,000 plus a year – will not be changed.
“The senior management teams’s pay was reviewed and rationalised in July 2011, resulting in the majority of chief officers and the chief executive taking a cut in pay,” he said.
The spokesman described the new pay structure as “affordable, simpler and fit for the future.”
He said: “It is more up-to-date. It will ensure that broadly similar jobs are paid the same and will result in a fairer system for rewarding staff.”