Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Southampton City Council strikes suspended

A long-running industrial dispute over council worker pay in Southampton could be near an end following negotiations.

A joint statement from the council and trade unions said they had "reached a position which could be the basis for a proposed negotiated settlement".

Although the details have not been released, the statement said both sides "agreed to compromise".

The unions have suspended strike action and said the proposals will be put to a secret ballot of members in November.

Council leader Royston Smith said: "This is good news for staff and the residents of Southampton. We understand that residents will also want to know what this means for their services including things like bin collections.

"We will work closely with the unions in this period to progress towards restoring normal services," he added.

Pay and conditions

Mike Tucker, from Unison, said: "We're keen to resolve the dispute, but as in any dispute it is the ordinary union members who will decide.

"The unions are potentially going to say this is the best we can achieve through negotiations. But they will have to decide whether they are prepared to compromise or whether they want to continue the dispute."

New contracts forced council workers earning more than £17,500 to take a pay cut of up to 5.5%.

Southampton council workers, including refuse collectors, parking enforcement officers, toll bridge collectors and social care staff, have been taking strike action since May.

The Conservative-run city council finalised budget cuts of £25m in February and said the cuts were being made to protect jobs. Unison claim some workers have seen their take-home pay cut by up to 15%.

More than 1,000 Unite and Unison union members walked out during a one-day strike on 6 October, the first since the 12 weeks of industrial action over the summer.

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