Most council workers are struggling to cope with increased stress and pressure in their job, after three years of cuts and having their pay frozen, according to a new report.
Unison urged the Government to slow down the multibillion pounds worth of cuts they are having to make after its survey of 14,000 workers showed most were being affected by job losses and increased expectations from the public.
A separate study by the GMB showed that a growing number of councils across Britain are paying a "living wage" of at least £1 an hour above the statutory minimum rate, benefiting staff including school dinner ladies, cleaners and grave diggers.
Research showed that 37 local authorities in England and Wales and all 32 councils in Scotland were paying or committed to a living wage.
The GMB has been campaigning for a living wage of £7.45 an hour outside London, and £8.55 in the capital, which compares with the national minimum wage of £6.19 an hour for adults and £4.98 for 18 to 20 year olds.
Some councils are now paying a minimum of £9 an hour, said the union. Local authorities paying a living wage include Barking and Dagenham in Essex, Blackpool, Cardiff, Gloucester, Norwich, Swansea and York, said the GMB.
The unions are calling on employers, currently consulting on a pay offer, to ease the pressure of the three year long pay freeze. Pay has fallen by 15% in real terms since the coalition took office, said Unison.
National officer Heather Wakefield said: "Working in local government is like living in a pressure cooker and eventually the lid will blow off. Workers can't take any more.
"Multibillion pound cuts, and 250,000 job losses as calls for services increase, means impossible demands are being placed on stressed out council workers. The pay freeze means it's a constant financial juggling act as red bills pile in and wages just don't match up.