279 Jobs To Go At Council

It's been revealed that 279 jobs are to go at Southampton City Council - 8 percent of the workforce.

The unions Unison and Unite say some services, such as the Youth Service, the "Our House" children's home and Archaeology are to be closed completely. Other Council services ranging from Parks, Street Cleaning, Waste Services, Libraries and Children's Services face considerable job losses.

The unions are accusing the previous Conservative administration of spending too much money - the current Labour council has promised to reverse them.

Unison and Unite say they will be working with the council to campaign for increased funding, and they are also calling on the Council to ensure that as many workers as possible are redeployed into vacant posts.

Union members are meeting on Thursday 15th November to decide what action to take in response to the job losses.

Unison Branch Secretary, Mike Tucker, said:

"While work starts on the new Arts Complex, which is being mainly funded by the Council, across the City Youth Centres will be closing.

"Hundreds of Council workers, Youth workers, Library workers, Child Care professionals, Park Keepers, Archaeologists, Social workers, all face the sack.

"Their futures are being put at risk by the economic policy of the Conservatives. They are paying with their jobs for the economic crisis they did not create."

Unite Branch Secretary, Mark Wood, commented,

"As the Government sits on its hands when hundreds of Southampton Fords jobs are shipped to Turkey and as it continues on its failed economic strategy creating zero growth, the future looks very bleak indeed for our city.

"Unite and Unison will work tirelessly to protect as many jobs and services as possible and campaign for a fair deal for Southampton."

Councillor Richard Williams, leader of the council, says he's leading a campaign for better financial partnership between central and local government. He said:

“We always knew this was going to be a tough budget but the government’s lack of communication or consistency on telling us the level of the reduction in our grant has made a difficult job near-impossible.

"We need to be able to plan ahead and make long term decisions in the best interests of the city, not suffer at the whim of a government hell bent on chopping anything with the word “local” attached to it.

“This budget is painful, but necessary. We have managed to safeguard the most essential services, increase income equitably and where reductions have to be made, they have been made with care and with regard to maintaining the best possible service for the most possible people.”

Read the council's full statement here: