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Deal is brokered by ACAS
COUNCIL bosses say they hope South-ampton's care services will now return to normal after workers settled a pay dispute.
Union members - about two thirds of the largely female workforce - have accepted proposals to phase out over three years extra payments for working nights and weekends.
The decision to axe the enhanced payments provoked two walkouts and 130 grievances by Unison and TGWU members over failure to consult on redundancies.
All but four of Southampton's City Council's 348 care workers signed new contracts under threat of the sack.
The cuts would have seen some workers lose up to £7,000 a year to save the council about £400,000.
A revised wage protection deal, brokered by the Government's arbitration service ACAS, was thrashed out to avert further industrial action.
It follows the launch of the Daily Echo Justice for Carers campaign to demand a fair deal for the carers.
Thanks Unison branch secretary Mike Tucker said: "We would again like to thank the Daily Echo for its public campaign in support of the care workers, which helped us reach a settlement with the council.
"The care workers' industrial action and public support forced the council to double the level of salary protection on offer. Most care workers will now not see a drop in their take home pay during the next three years after annual increments and cost of living increases are taken account of."
Councillor Norah Goss, Cabinet member for adult social care, said: "We didn't want this dispute to continue but we will achieve our aim of clean pay. I had to take the action I took to keep the service in-house."
She added: "I hope the service can get back to how it was before. There was a real family feeling and I hope that can continue."
Up to £600,000 to pay for the deal will come from last year's contingency coffers and future budget rounds.
Under the deal care workers will, in addition to increased hourly rates, have their enhanced pay fully protected this year, get 65 per cent protection in April 2008/9 and 45 per cent in April 2009/10.
In a postal ballot, union members voted overwhelmingly for the deal. The four care workers sacked for refusing to accept the new pay rates will be re-employed with no break in service.