County chiefs in jobs talks

COUNTY chiefs have held summit talks with union bosses over how Ipswich getting home rule will affect staff.As a result of Ipswich Borough Council being granted unitary status last week, a number of key services will be transferred to the authority.

COUNTY chiefs have held summit talks with union bosses over how Ipswich getting home rule will affect staff.

As a result of Ipswich Borough Council being granted unitary status last week, a number of key services will be transferred to the authority.

Around 20 per cent of Suffolk County Council's revenue budget - potentially upwards of £300million - will be handed over to the new unitary body meaning that huge changes will be needed at the county's headquarters at Endeavour House.

Leaders for the Suffolk county branch of Unison fear the switch to unitary could lead to job losses and met with Suffolk County Council's chief executive Mike More on Wednesday.

Spokesman for Suffolk County Council Francis Thomas said: “This was a catch up meeting because of all the changes announced last week.

“We are keen to make sure we go through a transition period that serves all the people of Suffolk, including Ipswich and minimise disruption to service users as we go through the change.”

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County council leaders have so far met with more than 500 staff around the county to speak to people about the shake-up which will come into effect in 2009.

Further meetings were scheduled for yesterday and today.

Meanwhile the county council is also speaking to Unison about other potential job losses.

Up to 116 jobs could go at Suffolk County Council over the next year after a shake-up was approved by members of the authority last month.

Many more could follow in years to come with the council needing to make around £150million in savings over the next six years.

Unison has taken part in a number of meetings with Suffolk County Council on the issue but has refused to comment on the situation publicly.

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

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