Hundreds of council jobs set to go

By Emily Pearce

Monday, January 13, 2014

 

AT LEAST 360 more jobs look set to go at the Isle of Wight Council over the next three years as the authority faces the reality of the budget crisis.

A statutory HR1 notice, informing staff of proposed redundancies, has been issued today (Monday).

It proposes 80 jobs are cut during the 2014/15 financial year, 160 the following year and 120 the year after that, predominantly back office and discretionary services' posts, as the council looks to save £28m over the same period.

Around 50 posts in the economy and environment directorate, understood to include school crossing patrols and those who work in parking, leisure and property services, will be the first to go.

The first dismissal notices are due to be issued from February 27 — the day after a crunch budget-setting meeting at County Hall.

According to a letter to staff, issued with the HR1 notice: "This sets out the council's proposals for the fundamental review of council services required to realign its available resources and to secure a sustainable financial future that allows us to live within our means. It is an unfortunate reality that this will result in a significant reduction in the overall staffing establishment to meet the scale of savings required."

Further HR1 notices could be issued as further savings proposals are developed, it warns.

Unison branch secretary Mark Chiverton, who last month warned there could be as many as 300 compulsory redundancies over the next three years, said the sheer scale of job losses was worse than anyone had feared.

"The impact, particularly in 2015/16, will be absolutely devastating. People have been expecting this but I think staff will be deeply shocked by the sheer scale and speed of the job cuts, it 's a staggering number." he said.

"It's imperative we continue to have an ongoing dialogue with members and managers, and we will be discussing over the next few weeks how we can minimise compulsory redundancies. We will try to mitigate the impact of this, and I think there are some instances where jobs can be transferred to other organisations — such as school crossing patrols being taken on by schools.

"The council has spoken about 're-engineering' services, but this is taking place against a background of massive cuts. We can't avoid the stark reality of the situation. We will be encouraging the council and MP to press our case with central government, to make it clear how heavily the Isle of Wight relies on its public services."

Unison is due to hold a meeting for members next week, added Mr Chiverton. It would also host a public meeting to discuss the impact of £28m worth of cuts on jobs and services, and the long-term implications for the Isle of Wight.

A consultation with staff and unions will run from today to February 21, in a bid to minimise the number of compulsory redundancies. Options include offering staff voluntary redundancy , early retirement, reduced hours or job sharing.

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