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Labour ready with offer to end long-running dispute in Southampton
The possible deal to restore pay cuts and remove the threat of a £12m legal claim will be discussed at a meeting with unions tomorrow.
Labour finance boss Councillor Simon Letts, pictured, confirmed last night that up to 90 council jobs could be lost over the next three or four years to fund the restoration of pay, worth £2.7m a year.
But he said the job cuts could be as few as 30 if other savings could be found and staff could be moved into other roles at the council.
He said Labour had not mentioned the prospect of the job losses in their election promises as they didn’t have the full details of the council’s perilous finances.
Cllr Letts admitted: “If I had known [then] what I knownowI would have been clearer.”
However he claimed union chiefs and staff would have known some jobs losses were “inevitable” as an alternative to pay cuts.
He said Labour would do its “level best” to find affected staff new jobs under an extended redeployment scheme, due to be brought in at the end of the summer.
Unison branch secretary Mike Tucker said the party had never said job losses would be linked to pay restoration.
“We wouldn’t find it acceptable.
We believe the money could be found from other services,” he said, adding that any deal would have to be put to union members.
He criticised Labour for failing to consult the unions and staff before announcing a mini-budget to the media on Monday to save a further £2m a year with 20 job losses, including a plan to close Oaklands Swimming Pool in Lordshill, that would still leave the council facing an estimated £25m budget gap next year.
Tories brought in the controversial pay cuts of between 2 per cent and 5.5 per cent in July last year under threat of dismissal to “protect”
400 jobs from budget cuts. Opposition Tory group leader Cllr Royston Smith said Labour’s proposed new extended redeployment scheme was “flawed” as there was nowhere else for staff to go in council or wider public sector.