More than 1,000 Southampton council workers struck on Thursday of last week in the biggest walkout yet in their long-running dispute.
The 700 Unite members and 400 Unison members included social care workers, refuse workers and many others. They picketed council depots and the main social work office from 6am on the day.
The strikers were determined to continue their fight against the Tory council, which has slashed their pay by 5 percent.
This was the workers’ first strike since they took
12 weeks of rolling action over the summer. They braved the threat of the sack to continue the strikes.
At 12.30 hundreds of strikers marched noisily to Guildhall Square for a rally which was addressed by local union officials.
Unite regional organiser Ian Woodland said the union was “solid” in continuing the action. He also talked about the need to “sack the council” at the local elections next May.
Many pointed out that while workers get pay cuts, councillors have voted to retain their own expenses.
An independent report has said councillors don’t do enough work to justify them.
The Unison and Unite members held meetings afterwards to discuss further action if the council does not improve their offer at a meeting planned for this week.
There was a loud cheer when Bobby Noyes, president of the local trades council, said that if she were a council worker, she would be “voting to up the action a level”.
It is excellent that Unite called out its entire membership at the council this time. Next time Unison should do the same—and they should stay out for more than one day.
Send donations to Unison office, Civic Centre, Southampton, SO14 7NB (cheques payable to Unison Southampton District Branch), and Unite at TGWU 2/8 strike fund, Unity Trust Bank account no. 20185358, sort code 08-60-01