COUNCIL bosses in Blackburn with Darwen say only a fifth of their lifeguards will face the full impact of proposed salary cuts.

Union officials have called a series of one-day strikes following a job re-evaluation exercise for the authority's 25 lifeguards.

Regional officer Tanya Sweeney, of Unite, says some staff will see their salary slashed by £3,000.

But Dominic Harrison, the borough's public health director, said the changes would only affect five full-time staff.

Before the cuts, lifeguards could earn up to £22,911. Under the new proposal this would drop to £19,945.

Mr Harrison said an additional weekend allowance was available and the council has a 12-month pay protection policy.

He added: "We want to reiterate that our lifeguards are highly valued members of staff, performing really important roles.

“The council has a national job evaluation scheme jointly agreed with the trade unions and Local Government Employers. All roles are evaluated using this agreed National Scheme."

He said the majority of their lifeguards were employed part-time so the pay scale drop would only affect them proportionately.

Mr Harrison also said their pay scale was above the national average.

Last Saturday public swimming was cancelled at Darwen but swimming lessons went ahead.

Talks are still taking place between the council and Unite. The next industrial action is set to take place tomorrow.

Miss Sweeney has called for a "fair and realistic deal" for her members.