Strike Talks End Without Resolution

Southampton City Council says it is extremely disappointed that talks with trade unions have today been unsuccessful despite the council offering a number of concessions.

At the beginning of the week starting June 20th 2011, workers at Southampton City Council announced more strikes in a row over planned pay cuts.

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.

During today’s talks with unions, the council’s negotiating team, including the Chief Executive, Leader of the Council, Head of Finance and Head of HR and Organisational Development, offered concessions to the proposed terms and conditions changes which would see more than half of all staff receiving no pay cut at all.

As part of a ten point set of proposals from the council, and in an attempt to reach an agreement with trade unions and end industrial action in the city, the council said it would raise the threshold for pay cuts to £22,000. In total around 50% of staff will receive no pay cut if this offer is agreed.

Following more than 20 hours of talks ACAS called an end to the negotiations today.

Councillor Royston Smith, Leader of the Council, said:

“Today we offered trade unions a ten point set of proposals including one major concession which was to lift over 50% of staff out of any pay cuts at all.

“As part of a raft of proposals anyone earning £22,000 or less will no longer have their pay cut. In addition we have committed to a review of all terms and conditions changes within two years in consultation with the unions.

“I’m very disappointed and surprised that despite making breakthrough proposals the trade unions refused to discuss them any further. We see this as an exceptional final offer and remain ready to continue talks at anytime.”

MEANWHILE Southampton City Council will begin to clear piles of bagged waste.

The unions are unhappy about planned pay cuts of up to five and a half percent, and have accused the council of not negotiating seriously. Unison Branch secretary, Mike Tucker, commented:

“They seem more intent on issuing propaganda than sitting down with the trade unions to reach a fair settlement.”

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