Social workers and other staff at Southampton Council have voted overwhelmingly to accept a deal to end the long-running dispute over last year’s heavy pay cuts.
In July 2011, the council’s then-Conservative leadership dismissed all staff and asked them to sign new employment contracts with lower salaries. Social workers earning between £22,000 and £35,000 had their pay cut by 4.5%.
The move was met by a wave of industrial action. However, May’s local elections saw the Tory leader of Southampton Council, Royston Smith, ousted by Labour – and the new leadership presented local unions with a proposal to restore staff pay in phased stages.
Under the new deal, those earning between £17,000 and £22,000 will see their pay restored in November. Staff earning between £22,000 to £35,000 will see their pay restored in three instalments between November 2012 and April 2014.
Those earning over £35,000 will have to wait until 2015 for their pay to be fully restored. Council workers made redundant as a result of the 2011-12 council budget will receive a one-off compensation payment.
Nine out of 10 Unison members and eight out of 10 Unite members at the council have voted to accept. As a result, the unions will withdraw all legal action against the council and call off the ongoing industrial action.