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Bid to save 1,800 Hampshire County Council jobs
A CROSS-party meeting will take place next month to try and save a reported 1,800 county council jobs.
As revealed in the Daily Echo yesterday, the council’s Tory chiefs are again looking at voluntary redundancies to help save £90m by April 2015.
Redundancy packages will be capped at 40 weeks pay but the number of jobs to be cut is being disputed.
Council leader Roy Perry claims no target has been set yet but UKIP group leader Ray Finch said a senior council officer had confirmed it was 1,800.
Tony Hooke, deputy UKIP leader, said the behind-closed doors meeting was a way to come up with a collective solution to the funding problem.
He said: “If we can save one job it’s a result, if we can save all 1,800, well that’s something else.”
Cllr Hooke added staff morale was already poor due to high workloads.
He said: “I have spoken to teachers and social workers suffering beyond belief.
“People are going off sick because of stress, leaving more work for colleagues to cover which is causing more stress. I know it’s only two departments and is a small sample but we have now heard the unions will be taking a survey to get a sense of morale.”
The council, which employs around 40,000 people, also wants to reduce its senior management by ten per cent – which a spokesman confirmed meant around 40 jobs.
It is unknown whether some departments will be affected more than others but the spokesman added: “The current change programmes around IT, the Integrated Business Centre and greater use of digital channels will all impact on the number of staff required in future.
“This is a very significant business process to meet future cost reductions. So far it has reduced our pay bill by £46m, with savings of £32m per annum in future, so it has proved a successful way of delivering savings and cutting our running costs with least impact on frontline services.”
According to figures in a Cabinet report, the council currently employs around 650 senior managers. It comes on top of a loss of around 150 senior management jobs since August 2010.
The report also claims morale remains high.
The council has already confirmed it has set £10m aside from its reserves for bigger payouts for voluntary departures.
If the £90m savings are achieved it w i l l means the c o u n c i l h a s slashed its budget by more than £200m since 2008.
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