Settlement package follows two months of negotiations with new Labour-run council. Proposals due to go to full ballot of UNISON, Unite members

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Unions in Southampton have released the full details of a proposed settlement designed to end a year-old dispute over pay cuts imposed by the now-deposed Conservative local authority.

As reported on UnionNews earlier this month, all council workers earning less than £35,000 a year will see their pay fully restored by April 2014.

Those earning less than £22,000 will have their pay fully restored in November.

Restoring the salaries of senior staff earning more than £35,000 a year will be tied to wider ‘efficiency savings’.

The package of measures designed to end the bitter dispute, which saw waves of strikes by garbage workers, social care staff and toll collectors, includes compensation for a number of staff made redundant during the 2011/2012 budget cuts.

However, it is also conditional on the unions dropping a number of unfair dismissal claims.

Unions say a total of £2.3m will be put back into the wages of almost 3,500 local authority staff.

Officials insist there are no job losses linked to the plans.

The unions had been in dispute with the Tory-led council since early 2011, including taking more than 200 days of targeted industrial action.

Unite and Unison will ballot their members between 14 September and 5 October on the proposals. Both unions are recommending members to accept the settlement.

Unite national officer, Peter Allenson, said: “Southampton City Council is the first council to reverse pay cuts since the Tory-led government came to power in 2010 with its disastrous austerity agenda.

“This breakthrough marks a substantial change in culture and it has national significance.

“Southampton now has a Labour administration willing and eager to treat its employees and the unions who represent them with dignity and respect.”

Unite branch secretary, Mark Wood, said: “For more than a year, the people of Southampton have needlessly suffered because of Royston Smith’s Tory-led council, which was intent on attacking decent and hardworking public servants.

“The proposed restoration of pay will help Labour deliver on pre-election promises and allow a spirit of cooperation to prevail.

“With the Tory-led government determined to destroy local services we are going to need Labour controlled councils like Southampton to defend jobs and services.”

The unions have agreed to suspend industrial action while the ballot takes place, as well as postponing the Employment Tribunal hearing that was due to start in November and scheduled to last five weeks.


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