More than 1,000 workers at Southampton council were set to strike on Thursday of this week—the biggest walkout yet in their long-running battle.
The Unite union has called out its entire membership of 700 at the council on the day. They were set to join social care workers in the Unison union at the picket lines.
Members of both unions took part in rolling strikes for three months over the summer against pay cuts.
They are now outside the 12-week legally protected period after their ballot, meaning the council could sack everyone who strikes.
But Mark Wood, Unite convenor, said, “Workers are still prepared to take action to defend their jobs and this community against cuts.”
The striking workers include those in refuse collection, street cleaning, parking, building works, port health and many other departments. Union members across the council are continuing their work-to-rule.
While the council makes pay cuts, it is borrowing £100 million to build tourist attractions and refurbish the civic centre.
The council forced through 5 percent pay cuts in July—but the workers did not give up their battle. They have since rejected a slightly improved pay offer.
Unison branch secretary Mike Tucker said, “Next week it will be three months since these cuts were imposed on our members—and they are still up for the fight.”
This week’s strike must be a springboard for more sustained action across Southampton council.
• Send donations to Unison Southampton district branch, Unison office, Civic Centre, Southampton SO14 7NB and Unite at TGWU 2/8 strike fund, Unity Trust Bank account no. 20185358, sort code 08-60-01. Email messages of support and requests for speakers to email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org
Shropshire council tears up contracts
Bosses at Shropshire council have torn up workers’ contracts to force through cuts to pay and allowances.
The council used the dismissal process to make the cuts on Friday of last week. Unison members at the council struck two weeks ago. The union is now in talks with council bosses.