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IT staff at Swansea Council are voting on strike action to stop the council outsourcing their jobs. Ballot papers will be sent out next week. The vote follows a meeting organised by trade union Unison which showed unanimous support for a strike.

The situation came to light when the council put an advert in the European Business Journal inviting companies to tender for the service. It had omitted to tell the staff first of its intention.

After protests from staff and unions, council managers said they would consider an in-house option and get a consultant to work out likely costs. They then changed their minds and left it to outside companies to promote the case for internal services - which is unlikely to be provided by a company bidding for the work.

Management also included a secondment option in original documents. According to an email sent to all Swansea Council IT staff, and seen by The Register, union officials "also argued for a secondment option and indeed this was originally included in the Authority's procurement documents. Yet again, however, despite our representations Management refused to include secondment in the invitation to negotiate and have since effectively told us that they do not wish to consider secondment."

The email calls on staff "to fight to protect our members pay terms and conditions together with the in-house services we provide."

Ballot papers will be sent out on Monday and the ballot will close on 4 August. Staff have set up a website here ®

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