A union is threatening legal action over a council's plan to change the pay structure of its 16,500 workers.
Cumbria County Council is switching workers to the new single status pay scheme on 1 September, which could mean a pay cut for some workers.
Unison said it was "angry" at the move and is threatening legal action against the council.
The council said the new pay structure would be fairer to workers and that most workers would get a pay rise.
Steve Stott, Unison regional manager, said: "As the major trade union in the county council, we are extremely concerned and angered that the consultation proposals that the council have made are no more than a sham.
"They afford no opportunity within the 90 days available to us to make meaningful headway unless and until the employer recognises that large groups of their staff stand to suffer serious financial hardship as a result of their current proposals.
"We are exploring the options for legal challenges to what is going on."
The single status pay system is a nationally agreed scheme to try to resolve equal wage disputes.
A council spokesman said: "As the majority of council staff will see their salary increase under the new harmonised terms and conditions, the council has set aside over £10m to pay for the transfer to the new pay-and-reward system.
"Some staff will see no change to their salary, and pay protection will be in place until September 2012 for the minority of staff whose pay is being reduced as a result of single status."