Jobs axe fears at county council

UNION bosses spoke of their anger last night after it emerged Suffolk County Council is considering axing more jobs while cutting redundancy packages.The authority has already shed more than 100 posts in the past tax year in a bid to find savings of £24million.

UNION bosses spoke of their anger last night after it emerged Suffolk County Council is considering axing more jobs while cutting redundancy packages.

The authority has already shed more than 100 posts in the past tax year in a bid to find savings of £24million.

And now it has said it expects to have a similarly tight budget for 2007/08, meaning more jobs are likely to go.

In a further blow to workers, the council has revealed it looking to cap pay rises and redundancy pay offs at the same time as part of a series of cost-cutting measures.


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Employees were informed of the situation at meetings yesterday, when consultations with unions began.

County councillor Sue Sida-Lockett, deputy leader of the authority, said: "We expect the settlement grant from central government to be lower than we need. The challenge is to keep improving performance and find savings that keep the effect on services and staff numbers to a minimum.

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“One of the ways we can do this is by taking a fresh look at the mix of our pay bill costs. For this reason we have begun consultation with the unions about changes to redundancy terms and pay rises."

She revealed jobs were also likely to go as the authority continues to try to balance its budget.

She said: “Because of this pressure, there are likely to be further redundancies but it's too early to say how many or in which areas they will be.”

The council said it had been forced into reviewing its redundancy packages by new age discrimination legislation that makes it illegal for people to be paid different settlement amounts depending on their age.

In the past year, the council made 22 people redundant as it looked to lose 112 posts, leaving it with a bill for £1million. Although some of this cash was given to the workers as a redundancy pay off, the majority was used to top up a pension deficit caused by the job losses.

A spokeswoman for Unison said: “We are obviously very concerned about these proposals and will be looking into them in great detail.

“We would be concerned about job or service cuts and would be looking to minimise that. In the instance where people lose their jobs, it's not fair to take away their compensation for that loss and leave with a double disadvantage of having no job and reduced compensation.

“These proposals seems to be extremely unfair. It's a double detriment, particularly for people who have given long years of service to the council.”

The possible cuts will be discussed further at a council meeting on September 14, although the council will not set its budget until February next year.

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