2:26pm Monday 14th January 2013
By Geoff Barnes
Council leaders are hoping that the Government will extend town hall borrowing powers to avoid a clash with trade unions over job losses.
Wirral Council is facing a huge £109m budget gap over the next three years and within the next couple of months councillors must decide where cuts will be made.
Councillor Phil Davies, who recently led an all-part delegation to spell out Wirral’s budget challenge to Government minister Nick Boles, said the extra cash from borrowing would boost the local authority’s voluntary redundancy scheme.
He said: “The more generous the scheme we can put in place the less likelihood there will be to make compulsory redundancies.
“Dependent on how much the Government will allow us to borrow, the more we can achieve by voluntary means.
“We need to keep talking to each other; as soon as we know the amount, we will know what the split will be between voluntary and compulsory redundancies.
“I will do my utmost to avoid compulsory redundancies. I know the implications for members of staff, their families and their livelihoods. I want to do this by voluntary means as much as possible.”
Joe Taylor, Unison’s Wirral branch secretary, told a recent council cabinet meeting that the union was totally opposed to compulsory job cuts.
He warned that if the council took that step members would be balloted on possible action.
He told cabinet that Unison’s national officer would be coming to Wirral this month to examine the council’s books in the hope of suggesting alternative savings.
And he claimed immediate savings would be made by making it a priority to cease employment of consultants, advisers and agency staff.
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