THE leadership at Scotland's largest council has rolled back on moves which would see low-paid workers lose hundreds of pounds amid pressure from unions and opposition parties.

Glasgow City Council's key decision-making body had been expected to approve details of cuts to a raft of staff working conditions including overtime payments and flexible working to save millions of pounds.

Although the Labour administration insisted it was only proposing to explore the plans, unions warned that agreeing to the specific measures on the table would be "firing the starting gun on cuts to workers terms and conditions".

Both the SNP and Green opposition councillors on the committee also warned against imposing a limited number of contentious options, calling for discussions on changes to workers conditions to be widened out and cover all aspects.

As protesters gathered outside the City Chambers, the council was also accused of referring to staff and jobs like "piles of gravel in a quarry" with the administration admitting the language used in its reports should be changed.

In a highly unusual move, Labour, which dominates the executive committee in numbers and responsibilities, agreed to the opposition's calls, with council officers now tasked with coming up with a much broader range of options.

Deputy council leader Archie Graham said: "We're happy to accept the opposition amendment . We don't want there to be a perception that this is a done deal and that's an important message to put out.

"This will be part of wider discussions and I hope the trade unions will encourage their members to engage in the process."

The Herald revealed earlier this week how the council faced the prospect of widespread industrial action as details of cuts to staff working conditions emerged.

The plans to axe overtime payments and place major restrictions on flexible working hours as part of six proposals to save around £4.5 million over the next two years.

It is also understood that several prominent figures within the administration were apprehensive about conflict with the trade unions with just three months to the Holyrood elections and just over a year to the next local poll.

Addressing the executive committee Unison's Brian Smith claimed the proposed changes would impact on the take-home pay of around 2500 workers, with many at the bottom of the pay scale and involved in residential care and cleansing standing to lose as much as £600-a-year.

He also said changes to flexible hours would affect 4000 staff, many with care responsibilities.

Mr Smith said: "These cuts will come out of the pockets of the lowest paid in the council. We think this will fire the gun to start this process. We will react to that.

""If there's any sense within the administration they will not approve this report as it will create more conflict."

SNP group leader Susan Aitken said: "There's a danger that the perception will be that this is an imposition and we're looking much more flexibility about what is being discussed rather than the sense these are the only options on the table.

"Good will is incredibly important and the fear is the proposals as they are will undo that."

Green councillor Martin Bartos added: "I understand the anxiety of the starting gun but it is an echo in the battle for funding generally. We support the bid to remove from the report wording which locks us into specific options."

Labour's Matt Kerr said: "What I think is useful is that this has been brought into the open. It makes it clear we have difficult decisions to make. We're duty bound to look at everything and I'm pleased that's openly discussed."