Latest Public Sector News

11.07.11

Southampton workers strike over council cuts plans

Southampton City Council workers are on strike today over spending plans that unions claim could mean a quarter of the 4,300-strong workforce being sacked.

Refuse collectors, librarians, port health officers and others are on strike over pay and conditions.

But leader of the Conservative-controlled city council, Royston Smith, said the pay cuts would save 400 jobs and protect services.

Workers who failed to report for work will be deemed to have refused to sign up to the new terms and conditions, which would see those earning more than £17,500 a year taking a 4.5% pay cut. They could then face the sack for failing to sign.

But the Unite union is outraged at an internal council report detailing the plans for redundancies, which will apparently increase year-on-year, with 361 posts going next year, rising to 725 by 2013 to a total of 1,224 in 2014.

Ian Woodland, Unite’s regional officer, told the BBC: “Now we have the facts - they plan to sack more than a quarter of the workforce by 2014 and spend £15m of taxpayers' money doing so. This is a disgrace and will devastate those loyal workers who thought that by making a wage sacrifice now that they had a chance to save their jobs for the future.”

But Cllr Smith told the BBC: “People will see we are doing it to save 400 jobs in the organisation which in itself will protect several services in the organisation and they will see we are doing this for the right reasons...sign their contracts, come in to work on Monday, and we can start to put this behind us.”

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