Workers face new crisis in Southampton
(15/11/12) UNISON members at Southampton Council may have won their hard-fought battle over pay this year. But they now face a new crisis.
In order to bridge a £23m drop in government grant, the new Labour administration is proposing to reduce its workforce by up to 325.
Some services are to be closed completely, including the youth service and a children's home. Others face considerable job losses, ranging from street cleaning and waste services, to parks, libraries and children's services.
Both UNISON and Unite have condemned the Conservative party at both national and local level for putting the jobs at risk.
The previous Tory administration in the city increased its capital programme by £100m, while reducing council tax revenue spending and spending all its reserves.
"Hundreds of youth workers, library workers, child care professionals, park keepers, archaeologists and social workers all face the sack," said UNISON branch secretary, Mike Tucker.
"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."
The unions reject suggestions that the job losses are the result of the phased restoration of Tory pay cuts agreed by the Labour administration.
They will be supporting the council's Stand Up for Southampton campaign calling for fair funding for the city.
But they are also calling on the authority to ensure that its strengthened redeployment policy is implemented in full, with as many workers as possible redeployed into vacant posts.
Said Mr Tucker: "We believe the policy can work and now it's down to management to make sure it does. Their staff - our members - are relying on them."
The union will also be negotiating for improved redundancy provisions, and is to consult its members as to whether a strike should be held to coincide with the council's February budget meeting.
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