The union bosses say that they will mount a legal challenge against Southampton City Council over terms and condition changes and that they will hold crippling strikes. What is it really they are hoping to achieve?
By making these changes the council is ensuring that front line services are protected as best they can be. That’s why in Southampton all our leisure centres, our libraries and sure start centres will stay open, and why we will keep important services like weekly bin collections and can invest more in safeguarding vulnerable children. Compulsory job losses are being kept to the absolute minimum.
There simply isn’t the money there to fund the pay rises that the union bosses are demanding and at the same time properly protect our front line services.
So if the unions succeed, what are the consequences? Southampton will go the way of Labour Manchester, with cuts to services and the closure of libraries and sure start centres and the like. Cuts to services will also mean the loss of hundreds of council jobs. Council tax will go through the roof.
Throughout the process the union bosses made it crystal clear that they weren’t interested in reaching an agreement. They offered no solutions and even went as far as stopping the Labour Party producing an alternative set of budget proposals for the city.
They want a fight pure and simple. They know if they win the cuts they will cause to front line services and the job losses that will mean. They don’t care because for the union militants this is purely about partisan politics.
Shame on them! And shame on our Labour councillors and Labour MPs for backing them!