WORKERS IN Swansea council’s information and communications technology department have begun an indefinite strike following a 97 percent vote for action in a ballot.
The 100 workers, who are members of the Unison union, are fighting over their future terms and conditions, as the council wants to transfer them to a private IT firm.
The plan is part of a programme that will introduce a single phone number for all council-related queries and one-stop shops around the city, all supported by a new call centre.
But the IT workers say that the scheme has been set up to favour an outsourced solution.
The overall cost of the project could be as high as £100 million.
Developments at Swansea come against the background of a series of problems with so-called e-government initiatives.
A similar privatisation move at Bradford City Council was overturned and BT had to refund £13.5 million to Edinburgh City Council after system problems.
Swansea council has said it will bring in outside contractors during the strike.
The union is calling on members to boycott anything which uses scab labour.
Unison rep Matt Shepherd says the strikers are in buoyant and determined mood.
“You get some idea of the strength of feeling by the fact they have voted to go all out,” he says.
lThe striking IT workers have set up a website (of course!)— www.swansea-itc.org.uk