Council’s social workers could see heavy pay cuts overturned

After months of protest against last year's cuts, unions claim they have successfully negotiated a return to better pay and conditions for staff at Southampton Council

Social workers and other care staff went on strike against the cuts
Social workers and other care staff went on strike against the cuts

Social workers in Southampton could see last year’s heavy cuts to their pay and conditions overturned following negotiations between local unions and the new Labour council.

In July 2011, Southampton’s then Conservative-led council dismissed all staff and asked them to sign new employment contract with revised terms and conditions and reduced pay.

Social workers earning £22,000 to £35,000 had their pay cut by 4.5%, rising to 5% for those earning between £35,000 and £65,000.

The move, which was designed to save the council £25m, led to months of campaigning and industrial action, with social workers and other care professionals taking to the streets in protest.

However, May’s local elections saw the Tory leader of Southampton Council, Royston Smith, ousted by Labour, who gained 11 seats.

Unison and Unite have now announced that they hope to sign a joint statement with the new council later this week on proposals to restore pay and conditions.

Stewards from both unions will meet tomorrow to consider the outcome of the negotiations. The council is expected to publish its proposals during the week commencing 20 August and a postal ballot will go out to union members from 14 September.

Community Care has contacted the council for a comment.

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