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Council workforce to be told where budget axe will fall
A MAJOR announcement will be made early tomorrow morning to the council's 4,800-strong workforce, in which millions of pounds of spending reductions will be revealed.
A meeting tonight of the ruling cabinet will be asked to approve a raft of measures designed to save around £40m over the next year,
Councillors will also be asked to give the go-ahead to radical changes in workers' employment contracts, including redundancy payment policy.
With redundancies now unavoidable, the current enhanced payment for departing staff is to be scrapped.
Chief officers have already been sent letters saying their jobs are at risk and that the authority is seeking to reduce its manangement tier by a third.
The cabinet document says staff made redundant after the new conditions come into effect will have to leave under the new terms - regardless of when the dismissal process began.
Council chief executive Graham Burgess said: “Given that over 70% of the council’s revenue budget is devoted to the cost of employing our staff, tough choices need to be made.”
The cabinet report says that in the event that the scheme is modified, any staff leaving after a new scheme comes into effect have to leave on the new terms, regardless of when the dismissal process began.
Mr Burgess told the Globe changes must be made to council’s constitution to allow him to negotiate personally with the trade unions.
“The council is facing an unprecedented budget challenge - we have no choice but to reduce our net budget by £100m - this includes a projected deficit for next year of £39m.
“I am requesting that the cabinet give me the authority to consult with staff and trade unions regarding a number of matters that may affect them.
“Proposed changes include a significant reduction in the cost of senior management, changes to terms and conditions and potential changes to the manner in which we deliver our services.
“Given that over 70% of the council's revenue budget is devoted to the cost of employing our staff, tough choices need to be made.
“My personal priority is to ensure that we do all we can to protect those who are most vulnerable who rely on council services.
“By entering into sensible discussions with the trade unions and our staff we will be able to do all we can to mitigate the impact of the budget reductions we need to make and save as many jobs as possible."