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Council may force compulsory redundancies

Town Hall will ‘reconsider’ policy if voluntary cuts can’t be made

Published on January 19th 2011.

Council may force compulsory redundancies

Manchester City Council will be ‘forced to reconsider’ its stance on voluntary redundancies it if cannot cut enough jobs to save the money it needs.

The council executive meets today to confirm that it needs to axe 2,000 jobs and save £170m over the next two years.

The preferred approach as a voluntary severance scheme and natural wastage, but a report to go before today’s meeting said compulsory redundancies may have to be made, which would mean the minimum statutory payout for those losing their jobs.

‘The council still intends to aim to avoid compulsory redundancies, however, if all other options do not offer or cannot deliver the required saving, the council will be forced to reconsider its position, including in relation to compulsory redundancies, in order to ensure that it will have a balanced budget and robust medium term financial strategy,’ it said.

The proposed severance scheme will include the option of early retirement for council staff. The overall severance scheme is expected to cost around £60m, but will deliver savings of at least £70m in the first year.

Part of the scheme includes amending the maximum severance pay from 30 weeks to 36 weeks.

It said the scheme, which is being discussed with trade unions, would manage the cuts ‘in a controlled way.’ It is also taking legal advice so as not to leave itself open to claims of unfair dismissal.

‘Legal advice has confirmed that, given the scale of the workforce reduction the council would be vulnerable to claims from employees if consultation was not carried out...’ said the report. ‘The council will reconsider its position in relation to compulsory redundancies if (voluntary severance) does not bring sufficient staffing reductions.

‘Failure to achieve the necessary savings through a voluntary scheme would seriously increase the likelihood of the council being forced into a compulsory scheme operated on the basis of the statutory minimum requirements.

If the proposals are rubber-stamped by the council, staff are expected to be invited apply for redundancy between the end of this month and March.

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27 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

AnonymousJanuary 19th 2011.

The council should have compulsory redundancies.

Let's face it, all those highly paid and useless 'strategy' managers and administration 'officers' are hardly going to volunteer as they know that no private company will touch them with a bargepole. So why allow a voluntary scheme which might encourage people with marketable and useful skills to leave and not be replaced while useless staff remain in post?

The council should make a list of those it can do without and get rid of them as soon as possible.

Smyth HarperJanuary 19th 2011.

Who are these useless staff anonymous? Any proof or examples?

M30January 19th 2011.

Sorry to wade in, but Manchester City Council must be teeming with "Diversity Officers", "Somalian Womens Workers", "Peripatetic Disabled Champions" etc which it can cope without. Ditto the ridiculous cost of translation services into seventeen different Languages. Manchester has one language: English. Information about Debdale Park in Persian simply isn't necessary.

Also on the "Chocolate Teapot" list goes London residing Peter Saville, Manchester's "Creative Director" who not only gets a fat salary each month to spend in the capital, but he gets put up once a month in the Radisson when he deigns to slum it up North.

Smyth HarperJanuary 19th 2011.

@ M30 why must Manchester city council be teeming with those jobs? They normally don't exist but are dreamed up in the bizarre mind of Daily Mail news editors. There's no divesity officers in Manchester City Council, not to say there isn't people working with the diverse range of people in the city. I think you're a gay M30 (from previous rants) and I think we've all benefited from the council being quite forward-looking on LGBT issues.

And stuff is only translated if people want it or if there's a specific need. But when you live in a city where there's something like 100-odd languages, don't you think you need to be able to talk to them? Also, the translation service sells its services to others and brings in a hefty amount of money to the council, I believe.

AnonymousJanuary 19th 2011.

A voluntary redundancy policy is typical of a badly managed organisation like Manchester city council.

It is the job of senior management to decide which staff the council should keep and which it should lose to minimise the effect of any cuts on the public. A voluntary redundancy policy allows them to shirk this responsibility, possibly because they aren't competent to do the job.

Austerity since 2008January 19th 2011.

Can you believe it. Lehmann crashed more than two years ago (Sept 2008!) with immediate impact to the private sector, yes, including Manchester. It baffels me that the public sector has taken THIS LONG to understand what is going on in the world...get on with it, together in the national interest!

Duke FameJanuary 19th 2011.

The way I see it, council spending has gone up way over inflation in the last 15 years. Mr Leese should take reaponsibility for this over-spending.

If savings are possible now (I agree they are), then surely the lax control of spending in the past refelcts badly on the town clerk?

We're often told that the town clerk derserves his job because he's in charge of a huge budget. If his budget is going down, surely huge obsene salary needs cutting.

Duke FameJanuary 19th 2011.

Smitty, whilst some of the Daily Mail non-Jobs are an exageration, we have recycling officer and all sorts of rubbish jobs. Let's get them cut.

As for benefiting "from the council being quite forward-looking on LGBT issues", it's not for a local council to promote any sexuality, it's for the individual whixh is something Richard Leese and the like have forgotten and cetralised all decisions.

I'm not Richard Leese but...January 19th 2011.

... Richard Leese's latest blog post (on the city council website: there's a link to it from the council homepage) covers quite a lot of these points (diversity officers, Howard Bernstein's pay, etc). Worth a read, I think, even if you don't agree with his analysis.

M30January 20th 2011.

Smitty, of all the places I've come out , I now come out of the closet on the pages of ManCon. Although I really really dislike being described as "a gay" - the indefinate article makes it as offensive as a girl from Openshaw laughing at people down the village saying "I love the gays". The indefinate article makes all the difference.

Anyway, I digress, as well as having some experience in dealing with Manchester City Council, I have a working knowledge of public sector procurement, so I know there are massive savings that MCC can make, especially within the sphere of Human Resources. There ARE positions within MCC which are surplus to requirements. Even though I mentioned "Diversity Workers", there are positions such as "Punjabi Speaking Womens Outreach Worker" which I have seen in the past. Is that a vital front line service?

Of course I'm pleased that MCC have a positive dialogue with the gay community, but I don't see why I should be grateful for them "tolerating the gays". I feel that Manchester's reputation as a gay friendly city has everything to do with the community and little or nothing to do with the elected paper-shufflers at the town hall looking to appeal to every demograpohic... step forward Councillor Pat Karney, doyen of Marketing Manchester.

Marketing Manchester? This offshoot of MCC consumes an obscene about of money. Does anyone have any tangible proof of this organisation actually bringing in unique revenue streams to the city?

Smyth HarperJanuary 20th 2011.

@ Duke - regarding recycling, the government applies a levy on waste that goes to landfill. If Manchester residents recycle more, then it saves millions and millions of pounds, as well as being better for the environment.

@ M30 - sorry for the offence, it certainly wasn't intended. To take issue with you, the council doesn't merely tolerate gays (I've taken out the definite article as it's probably best we avoid those), for decades it's been at the forefront of driving the LGBT equality agenda in this country, from its response to HIV and Aids in the 80s and beyond to developing a partnership register that preempted civil partnerships by several years. I'm very proud to live in a city which has played an instrumental part in changing society's attitudes to homosexuality over the past couple of decades.

I don't know about the job you cite, and I am guessing neither do you so it's a bit difficult to know what you're inferring. I know that there's officers in the council who help women escape domestic abuse and others who help women who don't have English as their first language (or indeed at all) to build their language skills and help them become a contributing and productive part of the community. Is that kind of work important? I'd say yes...

M30January 20th 2011.

Smitty, I think we're going to have to agree to disagree on this one. I feel it's not appropriate for a cash-strapped local authority to provide so many services in additional languages, and I personally think anyone living in Manchester should have a working knowledge of the English language.

Alistair19504January 20th 2011.

For my Dad, who has spent the past 30years working for Doncaster Council, the combination of voluntary redundancy with a nice little cash injection and early-retirement has exactly what he was after.
You have to remember there are people working in the Council that have seen their department shrink and shrink, there is alot of bad moral and feeling in the Public Sector and from my Dad's point of view he just wanted out.
It doesnt suit everyone, granted, but it does allow some incentive towards those (early retirement or not) to seek other job options and hey... the pay out isn't that bad I can tell you ;)

Alistair19504January 20th 2011.

^^^ Wow bad spelling today, apologies

Duke FameJanuary 20th 2011.

Alistair19504 I can't see how departments have shrunk, local authority spending generally (it's certainly true of Manc)has rocketed over the past 13 years so much so council taxes are almost 10% of average salary. This clearly couldn't go on, good for the coalition to address it but the local councils must take responsibility for getting to this stage.

Peter RivendellJanuary 20th 2011.

People with what you may consider to be 'pointless' or politically correct jobs are still people with jobs (and mortgages and families and lives).

AnonymousJanuary 20th 2011.

Peter Rivendell, it is the duty of the council to employ people to do jobs for the public with public money, not to provide amenable employment for more people than is necessary just so they can pay their mortgages.

Manchester is full of people having a hard time economically, and the last thing they need is to have to give good wages, superb pensions and other perks to thousands of council workers who don't really have enough work to do.

Most of us are fed up paying for all the extra council staff hired under New Labour. Perhaps if we'd seen better services as a result we'd be more sympathetic, but if anything the services have got worse!

Karen16020January 21st 2011.

1. Cut all jobs beginning with equality or ethnic. It gets the whites backs up esp when Somali outreach workers can claim 20k plus pa. Doesnt add up and i dont want to fund it as im white and english, most people are struggling to find jobs of 15k so this is grossly offending and disproportionate.
2. Axe seniors town hall worker salaries by 20% bring them even more in line with the admin people (the civil servant front liners who do majority of work).
3. Scrap councillors salaries see how dedicated they are then when not enjoying being wined and dined at various council "functions" many of which are superfluos. In fact, the new Lord Mayor often cant attend functions in his own Blackley constituency now cos almost every night hes busy getting fed by us taxpayers.
4. Howard Bernstein was mentioned why does this man think he is above the Prime Minister? how can his 200k plus salary be justified??? Its our vote he counts on get him out i say - its the good old gravy train brigade again though isnt it??
5. Scrap all the other Jobs for the Boys positions

2 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousJanuary 23rd 2013.

Nice rant.Please find me a current paid position at MCC that begins with the word "equality" or "ethnic"...err...you won't-because there aren't any...

AnonymousJanuary 23rd 2013.

Karen. Some facts to help you:- The current Lord Mayor is a she, not a he and she represents the City Centre, not Blackley. Sir Howard is an employee not an elected councillor.

D KesslerJanuary 21st 2011.

Karen - explain how one can claim 20k plus p/a. Would be interesting to hear how that works - or are you just repeating the gobbledygook of the envious.

By the way, I will stop paying council tax from tomorrow - can't see why I should be paying for YOUR KIDS' education...

See what I've done there?

M30January 21st 2011.

I presume Karen meant either plus Personal Assistant or just meant per annum. Let's not get hung up on a typo.
Either way, the number of "Urdu Speaking Outreach Worker (Female Only)" positions which ARE out there are ridiculous. Fair enough a lot of them are employed within housing associations and mysterious "Community Organisations", but they all fall under the umbrella of Public Sector (Greater Manchester).

AnonymousJanuary 21st 2011.

I think the council should hire a modest number of reasonably paid staff and sack even more of its poorly paid staff than it currently plans to.

Part of the reason that council services are delivered so poorly is that many of the staff are of very low quality and have difficulty with even the simplest admin tasks.

Fewer and better staff would be much cheaper and better at doing the work. Manchester council, like many others, has made the mistake of employing the same calibre of person to do admin work as it does to serve school dinners or weed the flower beds in the parks.

job centre minusJanuary 21st 2011.

i cant do admin either

AnonymousJanuary 21st 2011.

maybe the council should scrapped the £8000.00 funding they are still planning to give to busisness in the gay village to fund a Gay Arch at both ends of Canal Street and save somebody job for the nigt 12 months etc ,
Also maybe if they had collected back the £426.000 which they over paid Marketing Manchester with last years would have paid a worker on a low wage for the next 32 years

Duke FameJanuary 21st 2011.

Like many, I fully accept there can be huge cuts and the council os over-staffed, inefficiencies and employs far too many willing unemployable.

The point is, this waste has been going of for years and our council taxes have gone through the roof to pay for it.

As there was no need to take all this tax from us, it's basically theft by leese and his boys

AnonymousJanuary 23rd 2013.

Ah....Divide and conquer-the old Tory way.Thatcher's kids playfully coming back to finish the Manchester hatchet job they didn't get chance to finish....
Firstly-manipulate the foaming right-wing media into demonising the low paid,the unemployed and the "lazy" public sector workers-all of course with their "gold plated" pensions and non-jobs...meanwhile,the big-business tax dodgers and landowners continue to get even richer,the city high flyers and speculators that largely caused the mess get away scott-free...meanwhile the billions printed in aid of "quantative easing" the gets given back to the very people that caused the mess in the first place....but no...as "anonymous" so wisely tells us-it's all the fault of the bin men,the lollipop ladies and the teachers.....

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