Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Solidarity with Southampton City Council workers!


“For ideological reasons we are going for
outsourcing, externalisation, privatisation, wherever possible”
Alec Samuels, Tory leader of Southampton City
Council, the Daily Echo, 17th October 2008

Workers at Southampton City Council, members of Unison and Unite, have this week started industrial action against cuts in pay and other terms and conditions which the Tory administration is attempting to impose.

The action has started with a week-long strike of the City refuse workers (see picture  at the main depot yesterday morning).  The strike is solid.  Other forms of action include overtime bans and workers refusing to use their cars for council business.  Further groups of workers will be taking strike action over the coming weeks.

The Council is trying force through its pay-cutting plans by sacking the entire workforce and re-engaging them on inferior terms. The wage cuts being proposed will mean staff losing up to 17% of their pay over 2 years.  A worker earning just over £12,000 a year would see their pay cut by 8% over 2 years.

The council has been more than happy to lie to the people of Southampton about its own proposals and about the unions.  It accuses them of intimidating workers when the intimidation is coming from them - accept a massive pay cut or face the sack!

In addition to the pay cuts the administration is trying to force through a package of service cuts amounting to £67 million over the next 4 years.

But some are doing OK - Council Chief Executive Alistair Neill, one of the architects of this chaos, continues to pull in a salary of £205,000.

This is an ideological attack by the right-wing Tory administration which would happily see Southampton City Council contract out just about any service that isn't nailed down - despite the fact that Suffolk County Council has recently abandoned similar plans because of huge local community opposition, and because they would have cost more and delivered nothing for local people.

It is imperative that this dispute is won by the workers - otherwise more public sector employers will be trying to do the same thing in councils, the civil service, higher education and the NHS.

For more information download the Unison/Unite flyer

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