MP and Union bosses slam Council as Southampton strikes intensify

Posted on June 8, 2011 by

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Union bosses and local MP Alan Whitehead have slammed Southampton City Council’s leadership for allegedly blocking progress in solving the ongoing industrial dispute between the Council and its workers over new contracts and pay cuts by repeatedly postponing talks and top members taking holidays.

It appears that talks between the Council and the Unions have been delayed due to diary clashes, although Tory councillors have blamed the Unions for not being willing to compromise when meetings do occur.  Talks overseen by ACAS mediation services have allegedly been delayed until July 6th, ensuring weeks of further strike action.

The strikes have so far seen binmen, traffic wardens and toll collectors on the Itchen Bridge out on the pickets, whilst action short of strikes has been implemented across all other areas.  The strikers have also received support from national union leadership as well as from the European Federations of Public Service Unions.  It’s been warned that the actions could cost the Council millions of pounds if they don’t come to the table and compromise.

Alan Whitehead MP “has urged Council bosses to stop letting petty bureaucracy get in the way of ending the current industrial dispute.” and that he felt that “Delaying negotiations means that Southampton residents are going to be faced with another month of industrial action that is completely, 100% avoidable” and that “Someone at the top of the Council needs to get a grip on this problem- now.”

Meanwhile, it has emerged that Leader of the Council Royston Smith is heading off to the Red Sea for a holiday, whilst Council CEO Alastair Neill is currently on holiday too.

Unison and Unite are planning on holding a joint rally next Monday, marching from Hoglands Park at half 12 to the Civic Centre with a message to the Council to “STUFF THEIR PAY CUT“.  Whether the two sides will get around the negotiating table anytime soon remains to be seen…

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Posted in: News, Southampton, UK