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22 June 2011, 12:05
Workers at Southampton City Council have announced more strikes in a row over planned pay cuts.
The council say the pay cuts are needed to stop 400 more jobs having to be lost.
Starting on Tuesday 28th June, over 300 Unison and Unite members at the council will walkout for seven days. Those striking are:
- All Southampton library workers who are members of Unison.(95% of the workforce).
- All refuse collectors.
- All street cleaning workers.
- Itchen Bridge toll collectors.
- Parking enforcement - Civil enforcement officers, parking equipment technicians and bulk cash collectors.
More departments of other sections of the Council who will strike are due to be made soon.
The escalation of the industrial action follows the failure of 9 hours of talks with the Council held on 19th June. Talks are set to resume on Wednesday 22 June.
Those on strike will join members of various other public sector unions who are due to be on strike on Thursday 30th June. They plan to march to join a rally being held that day by the teaching and civil service trade unions. The march will start from 12.30 p.m. East Park and will march via Above Bar Street to Guildhall Square.
Unison Branch secretary, Mike Tucker, commented, "The City Council is still not negotiating seriously with the trade unions. They seem more intent on issuing propaganda than sitting down with the trade unions to reach a fair settlement. As 11 July approaches, unless the Council withdraws the mass dismissal notices, the industrial action will escalate".
Ian Woodland, Unite Regional Industrial Organiser, commented, "This further action is unnecessary and the resolution is in the hands of the Council Management. Our members want to get back to work to serve the public and if council leaders are serious about reaching agreement I am sure it is possible".
Councillor Royston Smith, Leader of the Council, said in reaction the announcements of more strike action:
“All remain determined to bring an end to this dispute and will continue to meet with trade unions in an attempt to negotiate a way forward.
“I am surprised and disappointed that more strike action has been announced during ongoing discussions aimed at resolving the situation. I am truly sorry for the impact that this industrial action is having upon our residents.
“By now most people understand that the council must find more than £65 million of savings over the next four years. That is the stark reality of what we face.
“We want to work with the unions and have actively sought their views for months. The next meeting will be the sixth time we have met formally to discuss our plans to make savings and each time we have offered concessions, the unions have offered nothing in return. I hope they take this latest opportunity to contribute their own ideas on how we can make those savings.”