COUNTY bosses have been urged to halt redundancies and disciplinary actions against employees calling in sick.

Unison is calling on Hampshire County Council to put redundancies on hold and ensure that employees calling in sick in the coming weeks will not face disciplinary procedures and sanctions.

The news comes as last year the local authority approved plans to save £80m by 2021 in a move that put more than 220 jobs at risk.

Now Hampshire Unison branch, which represents county council employees, is urging the authority to make a U-turn amid claims that the council intends to continue with planned redundancies despite the coronavirus outbreak.

Hampshire Unison branch secretary Callum Williamson said: “The council wants to continue with ‘business as usual’ but these are anything but usual times. Staff may quickly lose confidence in the council unless they do the right thing and put an immediate end to all non-urgent council and school processes.”

He explained that some Hampshire schools could also face cuts due to a reduction in funding but the names of the schools that could be affected has not been disclosed.

Mr Williamson added: “The council cannot meaningfully consult staff and service users, over changes which could see people lose their jobs, at a time when people are unable to meet in person.

"This is not what social responsibility in a time of national crisis looks like, and is the last thing staff need at a time when everyone is trying to protect and hold communities together.

"Local government workers are at the front line of the response to Covid 19, and they should be treated accordingly.”

He is also urging the county council to halt sickness-related sanctions as he believes that employees feeling unwell for reasons not related to Covid-19 could continue to go to work as they fear there could be repercussions in the future due to the impact the coronavirus could have on employers.

“No-one should get sanctioned from their employer for being ill at a time when there’s a public health emergency.

"We don’t know what situation we are going to be in. We think it is inappropriate that people have to try to protect their jobs at a time like this,” Mr Williamson added.

The county council has been approached for comment but has yet been unable to provide one.