Southampton Council has made a revised proposal to trade unions in the long-running dispute over pay cuts for staff including social workers.
The revised proposals, following what Unison has described as “intensive negotiations”, would see all employees who earn £22,000, or less, exempt from a pay cut.
There would be a reduction in the pay cut for the rest of the workforce. The freeze on pay rises would remain until April 2013.
Unison and Unite will ballot their members on whether to accept what the council says is its final offer on 4 November.
Southampton workers were controversially fired and re-hired on less pay in the summer. Since then, they have taken part in a series of strikes.
The council’s offer is linked to the unions agreeing to drop all legal action against it, including one for a failure to consult on the dismissals and re-employments. Individuals would be able to continue with unfair dismissal claims, but without legal representation from their union.
Unison negotiators say they consider the proposals to be the best that can be achieved. The union is not going to advise members on whether to accept or reject the offer.
“Members will have to decide whether to accept the council’s compromise, continue with the industrial action or continue with the legal action,” said branch secretary Mike Tucker.
But he added: “The council has just started consultation on next year’s budget, with up to 250 jobs at risk. Unison members will be sceptical about these proposals, given their pay is being cut to save jobs.”
In a joint statement issued with the unions, the council said: “The basis of this negotiated settlement was reached by both council and unions agreeing to compromise on their positions in order to arrive at a conclusion to this long-running dispute, and return to normal everyday delivery of services to our customers.”
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