Council staff face cut in redundancy pay

County Council staff facing redundancy in Norfolk could in the future receive slashed pay-offs in a bid to save money.

It was announced yesterday that employees at Norfolk County Council will no longer be entitled to double the statutory redundancy pay, if the proposal is approved.

Now trade union Unison says its stewards will discuss a proposal to seek members’ views on possible industrial action if the recommendation is implemented.

The council’s current redundancy policy is to pay up to a maximum of 60 weeks of weekly earnings, depending on age and length of service. The revised arrangements would see this maximum cut to the statutory level of 30 weeks.

The announcement comes just days after it was revealed that 44 of the highest-paid managers at County Hall lost their jobs.These posts, together with a further 56 job losses, will take savings to �4.1m.

An additional 90 posts could go, including 65 from the Connexions project, as a result of the government’s “in-year” grant reductions which total just over �10m.

But a county hall spokesman said employees in all these cases would be processed under the existing arrangements.

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Consultation will begin with trade unions, and staff are being asked their views by September 1, but Jonathan Dunning, Unison branch secretary for Norfolk, said a senior manager had made it clear there was no room for negotiation. Mr Dunning said it was this that had prompted a meeting tobe scheduled for August 18 of stewards from across the county council. Members would decide whether to take industrial action. Mr Dunning said Unison members would perceive the timing as unfair, adding: “They are going to think the more senior mangers have been reorganised in a way that allows them enhanced redundancy, and by the time the cuts come, for the lower paid workers, the pay is going to be less generous.”

Norfolk County Council leader Daniel Cox, who chairs the Personnel Committee, said reconsidering the policy was unavoidable.

The current arrangements can’t continue because the likely costs of future redundancies might threaten budgets and services. Above all else, we need to protect essential services as far as possible,” he said.

“I am determined that this authority will not shirk from taking the difficult decisions necessary on behalf or our residents.”

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