Council set for consultation with trades unions over redundancies
Anthony Lewis, local democracy reporter
A council is set to agree a consultation with trades unions on potential redundancies in a bid to make savings.
Merthyr Tydfil Council has said it will need the ability to make some of its required savings through job losses.
If approved by councillors on 17 January, the council will issue a Section 188 letter to the unions to start a 45-day consultation exercise to identify how to make savings and would also notify the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) of the potential for 100 voluntary or compulsory redundancies.
Voluntary redundancy scheme
The council is now required to issue a new Section 188 letter to notify the trades unions that there is a voluntary redundancy scheme that the council implements and that a level of savings still needed by the council and that it will “require the facility” to make some of those savings through redundancy.
The report said: “The letter would allow in excess of 100 dismissals, for the reason of redundancy subject to mitigation, as redundancies are a last resort.”
All employees whose contracts are under NJC ‘green book’ terms and conditions are included in the consultation exercise, plus those on JNC chief officer conditions and the chief executive are affected.
‘Green book’ employees working within schools form part of this consultation exercise but teachers are excluded from the grounds contained within this Section 188.
The report said that it is intended to work with schools in realising the changes for school based staff in the interest of equality and fairness to all employees.
It said that it is the intention of the council’s union consultation is for representatives to work with the trades union in reviewing all non-employee savings and proposals that affect employees and where there is an identified need to make redundancies, the trades unions will be fully engaged during this process.
It said: “For the purpose of proposed redundancies, as the numbers of employees affected will be more than 20, the issuing of the Section 188 must take place at least 45 days before the first dismissal takes effect.”
The council said it will seek volunteers for redundancy in an effort to keep the number of compulsory redundancies to a minimum or avoid the need for them altogether but in these circumstances the number of any voluntary redundancies will still be taken into account in determining whether the trigger for collective redundancy consultation and the issuing of the Section 188 notice has been reached.
The council is currently faced with a projected budget deficit of £13 million for 2024/25.
In addressing the financial sustainability of the council, budget cuts are currently being explored in order to “ensure that council continues to provide quality affordable services to the community” the council report said.
It said: “This critical exercise is being undertaken within an uncertain financial
climate resulting from the continued effects of the pay award; energy costs; supply chain costs; and contractual costs are all contributing to this, along with loss of income and increased costs during Covid.”
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