Birmingham Connexions workers win partial concession
CONNEXIONS workers called off their half-day strike action today after council bosses offered to take immediate compulsory redundancies off the table.
Scoring a partial victory in their on going struggle against the imposition of 24 percent cuts to the Connexions service, Unison negotiators welcomed the concession but insisted industrial action remained a possibility if talks failed.
Local authority employers will now sit down for 28 days with Unison negotiators to resolve the dispute.
Connexions workers had been due to take part in a demonstration outside Connexions HQ as part of half a day’s strike action – the first time in the ever at the youth advice service.
In a statement, the union said: “Unison postpones Connexions industrial action and welcomes Birmingham City Council movement on compulsory redundancies.”
Instead both sides agreed that negotiations would continue and that the Council will endeavour to examine the budget settlement to try and avoid any compulsory redundancies.
The industrial action ballot remains live and the industrial action mandate remains insisted the union.
Commenting on the breakthrough, Unison West Midlands Regional Secretary and new assistant general secretary Roger McKenzie said he believed the council been reasonable due to the pressure applied by Connexions staff and local refuse collectors, who go on strike next week.
“We are hoping the employer enters into these negotiations in the same spirits as us and will avoid any further talk of compulsory redundancies,” said Mr McKenzie.
“The next 28 days of discussions are really important.”
“Whilst the strike action is merely suspended and could yet be called again in due course, we are hopeful that the further negotiations over the coming few weeks could result in a positive settlement being reached with no compulsory redundancies.
“The Connexions campaign, which has been running since the Autumn, has been very successful. Inch by inch, the Council have moved from their original proposals and we are in sight of securing a viable careers service for Birmingham’s young people . This would be a crucial success given the high level of youth unemployment in the West Midlands.”
He added: “Today just shows the progress that can be made when the Council sits down and talk to us with an open mind.”