Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 30 August 2014

Council 'to axe quarter of staff'

Unite said it had seen a 'devastating' report detailing cuts at Southampton City Council

A council embroiled in a bitter dispute over pay and conditions has been accused of drawing up plans to sack a quarter of its 4,300-strong workforce over the next three years.

Unite said it had seen a "devastating" report by Southampton City Council setting out its budget and spending priorities until 2015, including setting aside £5 million a year from 2012 to 2014 for redundancies.

Unions believe the local authority will impose worse pay and conditions on staff on Monday following six weeks of conflict which have seen hundreds of workers, including refuse collectors and social workers, take industrial action.

Port health officers will go on strike on Monday, which Unite said will hit leisure and container services at Southampton.

Unite said the internal report sets out the true extent of the council's redundancy programme, with redundancies increasing year on year, jumping from 361 posts in 2012 to 725 the following year, and 1,224 by 2014.

Ian Woodland, Unite's regional officer, said: "Now we have the facts - they plan to sack more than a quarter of the workforce by 2014 and spend £15 million of taxpayers' money doing so.

"This is a disgrace and will devastate those loyal workers who thought that by making a wage sacrifice now that they had a chance to save their jobs for the future.

"The Tory-led council has deliberately misled the public into believing that their services are safe too - who on earth will be there to provide them if more than a quarter of the workforce has been sacked?

"Council leaders should have been informing and consulting with unions over these revelations long before now and we will be demanding urgent talks to finally get to the truth."

On Wednesday, workers will march through the city to stage a protest outside a meeting of the full council.

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