Anger over possible job cuts

UNION bosses spoke of their anger today after it emerged Suffolk County Council is considering axing more jobs while cutting redundancy packages.The authority has already shed more than 100 posts in the past tax year in a bid to find savings of £24million.

MORE job losses and new salary caps are on the cards at Endeavour House if Suffolk County Council faces another squeeze from the government next year.

And officers were today being warned that if they do lose their jobs, they will be offered much less generous redundancy terms than in the past.

The authority has already shed more than 100 posts in the past tax year in a bid to find savings of £24million - although just 22 people were made redundant.

And now it has said it expects to have a similarly tight budget for 2007/08, meaning more jobs are likely to go.

Employees were informed of the situation at meetings yesterday, when consultations with unions began.

County councillor Sue Sida-Lockett, deputy leader of the authority, said today: "We expect the settlement grant from central government to be lower than we need. One of the ways we can do this is by taking a fresh look at the mix of our pay bill costs."

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The amount of redundancy pay made available will be one and a half times the weekly pay for every employee - at present it is more generous and based on the age of the person losing their job.

Salaries at the council are governed by national agreements, but there are bonuses that have been paid to people who exceed their targets.

Mrs Sida-Lockett said that in future higher standards would bee needed before these payments were triggered - but denied this would demotivate staff.

“There will still be extra money available, but people may have to wait a year or two before they get it,” she said.

A spokeswoman for Unison said: “We are obviously very concerned about these proposals and will be looking into them in great detail.

“These proposals seems to be extremely unfair. It's a double detriment, particularly for people who have given long years of service to the council.”

N Are you a SCC worker concerned about your job? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send an e-mail to eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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