Workers at Southampton City Council have voted to take industrial action against the council’s arbitrary decision to dismiss its 4,300 staff and then re-employ them on inferior employment conditions.
Southampton City maintains, as with all other councils in the country, that it is facing an extremely difficult funding challenge. A council spokesperson said, “We must find savings of £65 million over the next four years, which represents more than a quarter of our running costs. We have a funding gap of £25 million in the current year alone.”
The unions Unite and Unison recognise that this dispute has national significance. Councils in Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight and throughout the country will be waiting to see what the outcome will be.
Hundreds of workers marched through Southampton city centre on Monday 13 June in protest at the council’s plans to force thousands to accept wage cuts. The demonstration, the biggest protest by working people the south coast has seen in recent times, was organised by Unite and Unison
The march through the city coincides with strike action and action short of strike action, across the workforce:
In April Southampton council issued notices to its 4,300 employees instructing them to accept new, inferior contracts or be sacked on 11 July. The city has been gripped by workers fighting to save their jobs and pay, costing the council hundreds of thousands of pounds in lost revenue. ■