Strike to cripple Swansea's public services

Thousands of council workers in Swansea are set to come out in support of IT workers who have been on strike there since August

Council workers in Swansea have voted in favour of industrial action in support of striking IT staff in a move that could cripple public services.

Over 100 IT staff have been on strike since August over fears about job security if the £100m Service@Swansea IT modernisation project is awarded to a private sector IT company. ITNet and Capgemini are currently in the running for the contract.

The council has largely managed to keep its main systems up and running during the strike but in an attempt to turn the screw Unison balloted 5,000 members at the council claiming the project is part of a wider privatisation agenda in Swansea.

The ballot closed on Monday morning and the final turnout was only 41 per cent with just over 2,000 voting. Over three-quarters (1,625) voted in favour of industrial action short of a strike and just under two-thirds (1,299) voted for industrial action including a strike.

One week's notice of strike action is legally required and a meeting of union members and staff is took place on Wednesday to discuss what action should be taken.

Unison is also discussing a late "final offer" made by council management inviting the union to become involved in the various options for Service@Swansea.

A crucial debate, however, is set to take place at an extraordinary council meeting on Thursday with the minority opposition coalition pushing for a vote on whether to restart the Service@Swansea project from scratch.

Swansea council and Unison were unavailable for comment