Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Hampshire council workers could strike

Full Story: http://www.stopinjusticenow.com/News_0897.htm

Council leaders are calling crisis talks after local government workers voted to strike over pay. Emergency plans are being put in place to deal with the threatened mass walkout of up to 5,000 key workers across Hampshire. Members of trade union Unison across the country voted by 55 per cent to strike yesterday after rejecting a 2.45 per cent offer. The action could see communities brought to their knees as staff ranging from classroom assistants and refuse collectors to architects and social workers walk out. Portsmouth Tory leader Steve Wemyss said: 'The city council needs to have contingency plans in place to minimise the impact on people's lives.' The union's negotiating team will decide today what action to recommend to the national strike committee that meets on June 27. Unison head of local government Heather Wakefield said members had voted for 'sustained and escalating strike action'. Mike Wilson, Unison's regional organiser for Hampshire, said: 'It's regrettable no-one looks forward to it but to get the message it has to have an impact.' Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said members were 'angry they are expected to accept pay cut after pay cut while bread and butter prices go through the roof'. Hampshire County Council said it would wait until after today's talks to put plans in place. Havant, Fareham and Gosport councils said they would be calling meetings to work out how to keep services running.

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