UNISONActive is an unofficial blog produced by UNISON activists for UNISON activists. Bringing news, briefings and events from a progressive left perspective.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Southampton action continues as council cancels talks

Unions have rected angrily to Southampton council's last minute cancellation yesterday of talks at ACAS which were aimed at resolving the six week old strike against cuts in pay and conditions. The UNISON and Unite strike action from 11 June - the day the council plans to sack staff - will go ahead as planned. http://www.soton-unison-office.org.uk/latestnews.htm

The UNISON branch's website quotes regional organiser Andy Straker as saying "In a surprise move, the Chief Executive Alistair Neil sent UNISON and Unite and ACAS an email at 1108 today cancelling the talks scheduled to start today at 1300.

"UNISON does not understand or accept the Council's reasoning for the cancellation of the meeting. When UNISON / Unite was approached by ACAS about holding talks with the Council this week, we did so on the basis that there were no preconditions from the trade unions. As we are so close to the 11 July, we accepted that the Council could not in practise withdraw the dismissal notices before the 11 July. We believe ACAS officials informed the Council of this decision.

"It now appears that the Council only wishes to talk to the trade unions about how their revised pay cut proposals are to be implemented. In order to get the threshold for paycuts raised to £22,000 the Council requires trade union members to accept all the other pay cuts, increment freezes, pay freezes and reduction in car allowance. The Council would also require the trade unions to withdraw all legal action against the Council.

"The trade unions are also disappointed at the lecturing tone of the Chief Executive's letter. We do not really need a letter from a Chief Executive who has only been in Southampton 8 months and earns more than the Prime Minister, about the problem facing our city. We represent members and their families who have lived in Southampton for decades and are fully committed to the future of our city. It is clear that the Chief Executive is unable to contain his hostility towards our trade unions, their elected officials and the values we represent."

The industrial action due to start on the 11 July will go ahead as planned, as will the demonstration on the 13th July.