The Conservatives say they will freeze pay for all local government workers if they win the next general election.
The news comes as local authorities threaten to quit the national pay bargaining system after the Local Government Employers agreed a pay award of 1.25% for next year, when they felt a freeze was more appropriate.
Conservative town hall employers told The Times “a zero rise” for workers next year would be the “maximum” that Tory councils would support.
Conservative councils have insisted they will push to reopen the deal and could walk away from national negotiations in the future.
Shadow chancellor George Osborne previously warned an incoming Tory government would be likely to review “inflexible” public sector pay deals. He has also said that unions such as Unison, which represents most council workers, have grown “too powerful”.