Job losses could top 100 at council

NEARLY 80 jobs are to go among bureaucrats in Suffolk.And the final total could reach 116 if bosses are satisfied that such cuts could be made without harming services.

NEARLY 80 jobs are to go among bureaucrats in Suffolk.

And the final total could reach 116 if bosses are satisfied that such cuts could be made without harming services.

The Evening Star revealed the scale of the proposed cuts yesterday, as council officials and union bosses began a series of talks.

The county council is to axe more than a sixth of its “core” staff in an attempt to cut losses over the next three years.

However there was a warning from opposition councillors today that further cuts will be necessary as the savings will be totally inadequate.

The county is to axe 79 staff between now and 2011 as it brings the number of officials employed centrally down to 464 - mainly employed at Endeavour House in Ipswich.

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The change is outlined in a paper due to be discussed by councillors at next week's full meeting of the authority.

A more radical option, which would see the number of staff employed reduced by 116, is also being considered although the council is not going to make a decision on whether to press ahead with that at present.

The authority hoped the changes could be achieved by natural wastage and without the need for compulsory redundancies.

Council leader Jeremy Pembroke said: “This is just the first step on the way to reforming the way we deliver services.

“We are setting up a strategic centre which will organise the way these changes are made. There will be more changes as we look at how we deliver those changes to people on the ground.”

However opposition councillors were quick to warn these cuts could be the tip of the iceberg - and could herald more dramatic changes.

Deputy Labour leader Kevan Lim said: “Quite frankly I don't see how they can expect to reduce staff by that number without enforcing some compulsory redundancies.”

And deputy Liberal Democrat leader Andrew Cann was doubtful about the effectiveness of the cuts.

He said: “If you look at the figures they are talking about, they need £75 million of cuts over the next three years and these will only deliver £39 million in the best case.

“Does that mean there are a further £36 million in cuts to come?”

STAFF facing redundancy could find the terms they are offered are much worse than they were previously after the county made changes to its employment conditions last year.

However directors at Endeavour House still enjoy the same terms that they have always had - meaning there is a great variation in the terms that might be offered.

Deputy Liberal Democrat leader Andrew Cann said: “The way redundancy is managed now means that most staff who leave will get a third of their annual salary as a lump sum.

“But directors can expect to get two years' salary as a lump sum. That means a council officer on £25,000 who leaves after ten years with the authority can expect to get about £8,000 while a director on £50,000 who leaves can expect a lump sum of £100,000.

“That is not right.”

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