Talks resume between Southampton Council and Unions (but they’re also gearing up for a face-off in court)

Posted on September 14, 2011 by

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Talks have once again resumed between Southampton City Council and the Unite and Unison unions over continuing strike action this Summer in an effort to finally resolve the dispute.

The two sides haven’t met since early August as the row between them became ever more bitter amidst claims by both sides of obstructing their progress.  Strikes by binmen, toll booth operators on the Itchen bridge, social care workers and more have continued all Summer with both sides remaining unbudged.

Legal action by the Unions against the Council is also beginning to hot up, with the Unions trying to stop the Council postponing the pre-trial hearing (before their claim goes to court) for the third time, beyond the current date set at the 22nd of September.

The Unions began the legal action over claims the Council failed to adequately consult over their plans for dismissing staff as part of their cost-cutting and therefore breached employment law.  Once the proceedings get going the Council could stand to lose as much as £12m in compensation if the claim is successful.

Tribunals regarding the dismissal of workers who refused to transfer to new contracts are also set to be held later in the year, with Unions encouraging the submission of unfair dismissal claims by the deadline at the beginning of October.

The news comes as several members of the national Trade Unions Council (TUC) including Unison declared they will be taking coordinated strike action in potentially the biggest co-ordinated strike for decades on November 30th over what they claim are overly punitive Public Sector pension reforms by the Coalition Government.  Whether Southampton’s Council workers will still be out on strike anyway over the local dispute remains to be seen – watch this space…

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Posted in: News, Southampton