pay cut or losing our increments. People are beginning to see what they've lost and for some its £1,000. We are being prepared for privatisation and don't want it. The Tories are living on another planet and Labour are no different. The country is crying out for change."
These were some of the views of refuse workers back out on strike in Southampton after the council imposed new contracts on 11 July which meant massive cuts in pay.
In a significant escalation of the dispute they are being joined in a one-day strike by the entire social care department of over 450 workers.
50 social workers in the Adoption, Fostering and ARC Children's Centre will continue strike action for a week. Social workers are angry that after they signed their new contracts, the council attempted to bribe a select few with a £1,400 one-off payment.
Selective action throughout the dispute has been well supported. To ensure these cuts are reversed this action should be bought together in a council wide one-day strike and linked up to all local authorities fighting cuts.
Southampton Tory council is undoubtedly getting national backing from the Con-Dem government for its stand. In response Unison and Unite should call a national demonstration in Southampton.
This dispute is an attack on national terms and conditions and should be met with national action. The growing number of local authority disputes and the support for Southampton from branches around the country shows the potential for this exists.
Elsewhere in the city, other cuts are coming with 433 Southampton NHS admin workers facing redundancy.
Workers at the BBC in Southampton came out on strike on 1 August against redundancies. Medirest hospital cleaners are continuing their fight for unpaid wages and sick pay. Locked out workers from the massive Fawley oil refinery are continuing their battle.
With cuts facing the public sector countrywide and a squeeze on private sector workers too there is an urgent need to bring these battles together into a national campaign that could defeat the Con-Dem plans.
Anger is growing, support for the Con-Dem cuts is falling. It is urgent that trade unionists seize the time and prepare for a one-day public/private sector general strike to defend jobs, services, pay and pensions.
Lobby the TUC!