WORKERS at Southampton City Council are set to strike over pay cuts after a second union backed industrial action.

Members of the Unite union have joined Unison in voting for strike action over pay cuts of up to 5.5 per cent.

A mass walkout is planned in coming weeks followed by targeted industrial action that could cripple bin collections and street cleaning and hit care and parking services.

The council has issued 90-day dismissal notices to around 4,300 staff in a bid to get them to sign new contracts cutting pay and conditions from July 1.

The council says it will help plug a £25m budget hole following Government funding cuts and safeguard 400 jobs over two years. It comes on top of up over 200 job losses. Up to 40 senior mangers are also being axed to save cash.

Unite balloted 692 members. They voted 51 per cent in favour of strike action and 85 per cent in favour of industrial action. The turn-out was 42 per cent.

Unite convenor Mark Wood said: “Unite wants to avoid a potentially very damaging dispute which will cause great disruption to Southampton and calls, even at this late stage, for the council management to come to the negotiating table.”

Council leader Royston Smith said: “If the unions were genuinely interested in representing their members’ interests then they should understand that we are trying to save staff jobs and the services those jobs provide.”

Unison, which balloted nearly 1,800 members, announced last week that 56 per cent voted for strikes, and 78.2 per cent backed action short of a strike, on a turnout of 39 per cent.