Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Southampton council workers begin new strike

Rubbish in Southampton
Image caption Refuse workers have already been on strike, leaving rubbish piling up in the streets

Another wave of strike action has begun in Southampton with about 300 council workers taking part.

Library staff, refuse collectors, street cleaners, toll collectors and parking enforcement teams are walking out for seven days.

Talks between Southampton council and public sector unions to end the dispute have broken down.

Striking workers object to new contracts which would effectively cut the wages of many employees.

Council bosses said unions rejected an offer which would see more than half of staff receive no reduction in pay.

Unison and Unite said the council refused to withdraw dismissal notices for staff who would not sign a new contract by 11 July.

Refuse workers, street cleaners, parking attendants and toll collectors have all taken part in strike action since May.

In February, councillors finalised budget cuts of £25m and said all workers earning more than £17,500, which is 65% of staff, would have their hours cut - resulting in a loss of pay.

The Conservative-run council said the alternative was to lose another 400 staff on top of 285 redundancies already announced.

Both the council and unions have spent more than 20 hours in talks with the conciliation service Acas.

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