Leaked budget reveals Southampton council's plans: More than quarter of its workforce face the sack

Published on Monday, 11 July 2011 10:40
Posted by Scott Buckler

A report by the management team of Southampton city council shows that it is drawing up plans to sack more than a quarter of its 4,300-strong workforce over the next three years (July 11th)

The devastating report has been passed to Unite the union on the eve of the Tory-led council's imposition of poorer pay and conditions on the entire workforce on Monday 11 July.  According to the union, the report, which sets out the council's budget and spending priorities until 2015, proves that the local authority is misleading the people of the city about its claims that services will not be hit.

Members of Unite and Unison have been taking strike action for the past six weeks in opposition to the council's "sign or be sacked" demand on the new contracts.

The leaked leadership budget 2012-2015 shows that:

 

  • Southampton city council started off this financial year, 2010/2011, in credit by £5 million - but zealous interpretation of the central government cuts programme will tip the city into debt;
  • The principal plank of the cuts programme is sacking workers; Southampton city council plans to set aside £5 million per year from 2012 until 2014 (a three year period) to make around one quarter of the total council workers redundant at a cost of £15 million to the city;
  • For the first time the true extent of the council's redundancy programme can be seen: Redundancies will increase year on year, jumping from 361 posts to go in 2012, rising to 725 the following year, culminating in a total of 1,224 sacked by 2014.



Unite is accusing the council of deliberately misleading the people of Southampton with its claims that the imposition of pay cuts will save money for services.

Ian Woodland, regional officer for Unite, said: "At last we can see what sort of administration Royston Smith is leading, and it is one that prefers to curry favour with the Tory government nationally rather than put the people of this city first.

"Now we have the facts – the council plans to sack more than a quarter of the workforce by 2014 and spend £15 million of taxpayers' money doing so.

"This is a disgrace and will devastate those loyal workers who thought that by making a wage sacrifice now that they had a chance to save their jobs for the future.  And the Tory-led council has deliberately misled the public into believing that their services are safe too - who on earth will be there to provide them if more than a quarter of the workforce has been sacked?

“Council leaders should have been informing and consulting with unions over these revelations long before now and we will be demanding urgent talks to finally get to the truth.

"Royston Smith is leader of an administration that has dishonoured this city. Its half-truths and propaganda are now exposed.  It needs to stop doing George Osborne's bidding and start standing up for the workers and services of Southampton."

On Monday 11 July, port health officers will joining the six-week long strike at the city which has seen hundreds of workers, from refuse collectors to social workers, take industrial action in protest against the council's "sign or be sacked" policy of imposing poorer pay and contracts.  Action by the port health workers will hit leisure and container services at the port, which earns the city £300 million from cruise and leisure ships alone.

On Wednesday, Southampton workers will march through the city to protest outside a meeting of the full council.

 

Source: Unite

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