A council leader has apologised over “misleading” statements when publicly discussing a public sector pay dispute.

About three-quarters of Brighton and Hove City Council’s 8,000 staff are affected as bosses look to revamp the system of allowances paid to its workers.

After distancing himself from any negotiations, Coun Kitcat wrote on social media site Twitter that no worker would see their salary or basic pay reduced.

But union officials demanded he apologise for the “misleading” statement as the changes would affect people’s overall take home pay.

It comes a week after The Argus revealed representatives said a strike is “inevitable” based on the current offer, which will see some workers lose up to £95 a week.

Mark Turner, branch secretary of GMB, wrote in an email: “Whoever has informed you of this is totally misleading you.

“The current proposals that your officers, which you and the Conservative group gave power to negotiate on your behalf, actually cuts people’s contractual pay and their basic earnings.

I would not want you to mislead the public in the current situation and would hope you would rectify.”

In response Coun Kitcat said: “I have re-read the tweet and agree that in my intention to be brief, the content may be misleading.

“As you know the salary grades used in the council are not affected by the current negotiations, which are focussed on the premium payments and allowances paid in addition to basic pay.

“I do accept however that individuals may view their take home pay as their salary.

“I also appreciate that whilst the outcome of the negotiations isn’t yet known, it may be that some staff could see reductions in their take home pay.

“I do not want you to think I am trivialising this issue and the real impact it could have on staff.”

Politicians handed over talks on “modernising” overtime and allowance payments to unelected officers in January.

Since then, a series of meetings have been held. But, unions claim the talks have been “woolly”, adding the local authority has not budged from its starting position.

Last week the local authority said negotiations are paused to allow it to consider the discussions while it prepares a final offer.