Southampton Binmen Strike
31 May 2011, 09:41
Binmen join toll bridge collectors and traffic wardens who are already on strike in a row over planned pay cuts of up to 5.5%..
Members of Unite and Unison at Southampton City Council are escalating their industrial action against the wage cuts.
112 binmen will go on strike for seven days from 8 June.
Traffic wardens have continued into the second week in their 14 day strike (starting 31 May - 14 June).
Unite officials said the action by traffic wardens will lead to a revenue loss of £100,000.
Industrial action short of strikes, such as removal of private car use to provide services, overtime bans and working to rule, continues throughout the whole council.
UNISON Branch Secretary, Mike Tucker, commented,
"It is clear that the Conservatives do not want a negotiated settlement. Offering to meet in four weeks time is not serious. Our industrial action is proving how strongly Council workers rejected the politically driven wage cuts. The Conservatives should agree to immediate talks."
“They know people are terrified about losing their jobs so they are exploiting this as a moment to slash wages.
“We have repeatedly said to the council that there are better ways to make savings. “All they have to do is sit down with us to talk about a shared way forward.
“They refuse to do so, preferring instead to bully and terrify workers into accepting an attack on their living standards.
“Some of the poorest paid in the council's workforce are being told 'take a loss of thousands of pounds a year or take a hike to the dole queue'."
Leader of Southampton City Council Royston Smith said:
"I understand that any pay cut is extremely difficult. However, I simply will not risk up to 400 more people losing their jobs. I
believe and hope that even if you do not agree with the changes to terms and conditions, you understand why we are doing it.
"I very much value all our staff and, working with the Chief Executive, I will continue to do all I can to prevent as many job losses as possible, and protect the services those people provide.
"We will soon be meeting again with the unions and we very much hope that a resolution can be reached. I also hope that as a result of our commitment to continue to negotiate, the unions will suspend industrial action until those meetings have taken