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Labour ‘plan B’ on job cuts rejected by Southampton Tories
Opposition Labour councillors proposed an internal jobs market scheme to avert 50 compulsory redundancies agreed by ruling Conservatives.
Ruling Tories instead voted to axe 200 jobs to help save £13.8m. Around 99 redundancies will be made, with half being compulsory.
Labour said under its plans, the staff facing compulsory lay-offs today would be kept on their existing pay for a year and given temporary work until alternative permanents positions come up that match their profile.
The Southampton Labour group says it would use money saved from redundancy payments – up to £4m next year – to pay for retraining staff in the programme.
Labour-run Sunderland council pioneered such a scheme, dubbed the “The Sunderland Way”, and last year claimed no redundancies while saving almost £40m.
Labour leader Councillor Richard Williams admitted the council would still need to become “leaner” to save money but he believed that compulsory redundancies could be avoided.
He said unions had backed the scheme which would be trialled for a year under a Labour administration, beginning this summer following a “mini-budget” if they seize power in May elections.
However, Tory finance chief councillor John Hannides dismissed the plan as another layer of costly bureaucracy and said managers were already seeking to redeploy staff threatened with redundancy where possible.
He claimed a Labour “mini-budget” would have to include “huge redundancies” to balance their spending plans.