Newcastle City Council has pledged to transfer all the salary savings it makes from today’s strike action into its voluntary sector budget.
A spokesman for the council said it would put at least £300,000 into the Newcastle Fund, the council’s £10m four-year grant-funding programme for services run by local charities and community groups.
He said about 13,500 public sector workers in the city had walked out today. In previous strikes, he said, the local authority had saved about £250,000 in salary costs, but the council would transfer at least £300,000 to the fund.
If the council saved more than £300,000, the extra money would also go to the fund, according to the spokesman.
Councillor Nick Forbes, leader of the council, said in a statement: "Losing a day’s pay due to industrial action will have a big impact on many of our workers. It’s important they see that their lost earnings will be put to a positive use through the Newcastle Fund, ultimately supporting the voluntary sector that helps those with the most need in the city."
Kevin Curley, chief executive of the local infrastructure group Navca, said he was impressed by the council’s decision.
"It would have been very easy for Newcastle City Council to quietly pocket the savings from the strike," he said. "I hope others in the public sector will follow Newcastle’s lead and put their savings to good use by supporting voluntary organisations tackling poverty."