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UKIP and Labour councillors join Unison to stop mass job cuts
IT has been slammed as “an unholy alliance” by Tory county council boss Roy Perry.
But UKIP has joined forces with Labour councillors and Unison trade union to fight plans to axe more than 1,000 jobs.
Taxpayers face forking out millions in payoffs as staff will again be offered an enhanced voluntary redundancy scheme.
A council manager on a £75,000 salary, who worked for the council for 15 years, could be in line for £56,000 of public money – about seven times the statutory minimum. Payouts are capped at 40 weeks’ salary.
As reported, the Conservative-led council is planning more redundancies on top of 1,800 jobs shed since April 2010 as part of a drive to cut costs by £93m in 2015-16.
The council has already set aside £10m from reserves for bigger payouts for voluntary departures. It currently employs 650 senior managers and is looking to cut 10 per cent.
The council, which employs around 40,000 people, is responsible for services, including libraries, adult and children’s social care and roads maintenance. Each department is being asked to find 12 per cent savings.
Speaking at Cabinet yesterday (Monday Oct 28), Cllr Tony Hooke, deputy leader of the 10-strong UKIP group on the council, made a plea for jobs to be spared the axe.
Cllr Hooke said the “soft underbelly of the council and its workforce had already gone” and the job losses would cut deep into frontline services.
He said UKIP had formed the “historic alliance” with the aim of working with council chiefs to find a way of saving money other than cutting jobs.
But Cllr Perry said it was “with some trepidation that he heard an unholy alliance had been formed.”
The council boss added: “I think Unite and Labour were responsible for taking this country’s economy to the dogs and now UKIP are claiming allegiance with them!”
Cllr Stephen Reid, executive member responsible for human resources, confirmed about 1,000 jobs could go.
He said there was “no magic bullet” to transforming the council but savings were needed to cope with reduced Government funding.
He said about one-third of the £130m savings to date had come from cutting the wages bill.
Most of the 1,800 jobs shed were achieved by voluntary redundancies or freezing posts with only 18 compulsory redundancies. Council chiefs expect most of the 1,000 job cuts will also be voluntary departures.
As previously reported, £17.5m of taxpayers’ money was spent on redundancy pay-offs and £9.9m on pension top-ups during 2010-13.
But the council said it had reduced the pay bill by £46m with £32m per annum in future. The council is aiming to save £200m between 2010 and 2015.
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