A report by the management team of Southampton city council suggests it is drawing up plans to sack more than a quarter of its 4,300-strong workforce over the next three years, according to the Unite union.
The council denies that a quarter of staff face redundancy and council leader Royston Smith denies any knowledge of the leaked document.
Members of Unite and Unison have been taking strike action for the past six weeks in opposition to the Conservative-led council’s “sign or be sacked” demand on new contracts which will effectively mean a 4.5% pay cut for anyone earning over £17.5K.
Smith says the pay cuts would protect 400 jobs in the long-term and claims 95 per cent of staff had already signed up to them. He says technically the staff would not be sacked if they refused to sign the new contracts. They would simply “be choosing not to work at the city council”, he told People Management. He added that 40 per cent of staff would not have a pay cut and said councillors would face a larger cut of 5.5 per cent.
Unite says the leaked leadership budget 2012-2015 shows that the council is planning to make around one quarter of its total workers redundant by 2014, with redundancies increasing year on year, jumping from 361 posts to go in 2012, rising to 725 the following year, culminating in a total of 1,224 sacked by 2014. It accuses the council of a “zealous interpretation of the central government cuts programme” and says redudancy payments will tip the council into debt.