Solihull Council – which pays its chief executive up to £130,000 – looks set to refuse its lowest earners the £7.85-an-hour living wage.
The authority instead agreed to consider a smaller pay rise, saying it could not afford the £550,000 cost of implementing the initiative.
Solihull’s HR boss Adrian Cattell said it would also create more problems as the council would lose control of future salary increases.
He said: “The cost of implementing the living wage is £304,224 for core council and £250,728 for Solihull schools.
“It should be noted that the living wage will increase further on January, 1 2016 and that no local government pay award is due until April, 1 2016, at the earliest.
“Implementing the living wage and seeking accreditation would result in a loss of control of future pay increases which may also not continue to be capped.”
The Living Wage issue was due to be debated by the council’s remuneration committee today. Coun Howard Allen (Green, Shirley West) said: “Solihull Council are led kicking and screaming to reluctantly agree to conform to the nationally negotiated pay settlement that sees very little improvement for the lowest paid workers.
“This will have only a minimal impact on the very lowest pay band.
“What is truly shocking is Solihull Council’s unwillingness to pay a living wage, which is really just the bare minimum pay people need, nothing luxurious. Many other councils of all political colours have implemented the living wage including Birmingham, Coventry, Warwick and Stratford.”
Trade union bosses have also campaigned for its introduction.
Unison Solihull branch secretary David Williams said: “We remain committed to securing a living wage of £7.85 an hour for all council and sub-contractor staff.
“We believe it is important to make work pay in order to reduce in-work poverty.
“Neighbouring authorities such as Coventry and Birmingham are living wage employers.”