The branch committee, at our meeting on 25 November, agreed to write to the Council's Labour Group, ahead of their recent meeting at which they discussed the draft budget. We reasserted UNISON's opposition to all compulsory redundancies, asked that any cuts affecting jobs and terms and conditions would be subject to negotiation and that consultants not be kept on if the cost meant a permanent member of staff losing their job. We also asked the Labour Group's support for a full branch meeting of UNISON members on 22nd December.
The letter we received from Council Leader, Cllr Bob Price, reads:
I can happily confirm that the Group is as strongly opposed to compulsory redundancies as UNISON, particularly in circumstances where they are forced upon us by the Government's determination to rapidly reduce the range and quality of public services. Our assessment is that if the coalition had not heavily "front-loaded" the cuts, we could have avoided any need for compulsory redundancies at all.
We will be doing our best throughout the budget reduction process to secure staffing savings through natural turnover and voluntary redundancy. We have also been bearing down on the employment of agency staff and consultants and will continue to do so.
I have asked the Chief Executive and CMT to facilitate staff release for the meeting that you intend to hold on December 22nd. As Peter Sloman has made clear in his staff meetings, the members of Council and senior officers place great value on the maintenance of an open and honest dialogue with UNISON and with all members of staff. The contribution the staff have already made since we took control in 2008 to securing major efficiency gains and major service improvements is warmly appreciated. That partnership and mutuality will be severely tested by the savage cuts imposed by the Coalition, but we will play our part in maintaining the commitment that we all have for the provision of world-class services and good conditions of employment. We will not renege on our living wage commitments, nor on our commitment to minimising compulsory redundancies.
Leader of the Council
Tuesday, 7 December 2010
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