More Jobs to Go at Knowsley Council

By on Thursday, December 18, 2014

Knowsley Metropolitan Borough CouncilKnowsley Council announced plans in November to cut 130 jobs in 2015 and 2016, as part of an attempt to save £34 million. They blame the job losses directly on government cuts.

“Knowsley’s funding has been cut more than any other council in the country,” said Council Leader Cllr Ron Round. “We are doing all we can to protect services for residents but we are having to make some difficult decisions about reducing the services we provide as well as our own workforce.”

The council have already had to save £60 million, and they are now considering other ways to cut costs, including more reductions in library opening times, less highway and environmental maintenance, and moving services online.

In October, Knowsley Chief Executive Sheena Ramsey took voluntary redundancy, making way for a smaller, restructured senior management team at the council, with former deputy Mike Harden as new CEO.

The council’s total workforce has been cut by 25 percent since 2010.

“Unfortunately, the 130 jobs we need to lose next year will still not solve our long-term funding problems. Unless a future Government finds a way to give us the funding we deserve, further service reductions are inevitable. We will of course do everything we can to maximise the numbers who leave voluntarily but the scale of the funding cuts means that compulsory redundancies are unavoidable.”

Trade Unions Reject Alternatives?

Cllr Round continued: “We did hope that we would be able to reduce the number of job losses by reviewing our terms and conditions, and it is disappointing that we have been unable to progress these discussions with the trade unions.”

Knowsley UNISON secretary Roger Bannister, however, countered claims that unions had been uncooperative.

Speaking to Prescot Online, he said proposed cuts to pay and conditions meant nothing for job security, and promises of no redundancies were of no legal value.

“Examples such as that of the Wirral clearly demonstrate that cuts to pay and conditions of service are no guarantee of protection from redundancies,” he said, “where after such a package has been implemented, 500 redundancies have been announced.”

He added that Knowsley Council waste hundreds of thousands on unwinnable employment tribunal cases every year.

“It is unfortunate that a Labour Council, and one with a 100% majority, should seek to pass on Tory cuts to its workforce via cuts in pay and conditions of service and/or redundancies,” Mr Bannister said.

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