Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Rally as Southampton City Council to axe 40 senior jobs

Southampton Civic Centre
Image caption The council said a further 400 jobs could be lost unless all its proposals were met

A protest has been held by Southampton City Council staff over job cuts, hours after it was announced 40 senior management posts were being axed.

The council is axing the jobs in a bid to save a further £2m a year, as it looks to save £25m in 2011/12.

The Conservative-run authority had already announced plans to axe 250 jobs by April 2012 and reduce pay and councillors' allowances, both by 5.4%.

Members of the Unison and Unite trade unions held the rally at lunchtime.

At least two posts at director level will go under the new cuts.

The city council staff were joined on the rally by NHS workers, including striking cleaners from Southampton General Hospital.

A consultation has started with managers in a bid to minimise compulsory redundancies.

Workers 'angry'

In December, the council warned a further 400 jobs could be cut if changes to pay and conditions were not made.

It has suggested all its workers take a pay cut and work two hours less a week.

Other changes include measures to reduce sickness absence, restructuring of car entitlements, changes to mileage rates and scrapping the council's car lease scheme.

A Unison spokesman said the proposals would amount to a 20% pay cut over four years.

Unison branch secretary Mike Tucker said: "Council workers are angry that their jobs, pay and the services they provide are being hit by the budget being introduced by the Conservatives at both a national and local level.

'Very sad'

"They do not accept that the only solutions are redundancies and pay cuts.

"The Conservatives are targeting the poor and the vulnerable in order to bail out the bankers who caused the economic crisis. Council workers will not pay for the bankers' greed".

Leader of the council, Councillor Royston Smith, said: "The reality is that we have significantly less money and that we cannot avoid difficult decisions.

"While recognising the valuable job our managers do, we are committed to reducing what we spend on the council's management structure in order to protect the services that our residents and businesses value most.

"It is very sad when anyone at any level of the organisation is faced with losing their job and we don't make these decisions lightly."

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