Voluntary redundancy offer as council sheds jobs

Workers at a Yorkshire council are being asked from today whether they want to take voluntary redundancy.

Up to 1,400 jobs, almost a fifth of the workforce, are being axed at Hull Council, as the authority attempts to cut more than 40m from its budget.

People agreeing to leave by April 30 are being offered payouts representing 2.45 weeks' pay for each year served up to a maximum of 20 years.

More than 100 people took voluntary redundancy last month, out of 542 who had signed up to a similar scheme last year.

One employee said: "People just want to get on with it and be sure they are leaving with a decent package. The more people that go voluntarily the less likelihood that there will have to be so many compulsory redundancies."

He said last year's scheme had operated "incredibly slowly and rather aimlessly" with employees only finding out on December 22 that their application had been approved, nine days before they were due to leave.

A missive to managers, advising that the scheme will begin today, says talks have begun with unions on cutting the number of redundancies by making changes to terms and conditions which would save 1.37m.

The scheme is open to all staff, apart from those directly employed by schools.

Under the Lib Dem administration's draft budget proposals, the council will stop providing residential care for adults and introduce charges for adult social care. There will be fewer road repairs and reduced opening times and increased charges at leisure centres.

The single biggest saving of 9.8m would come from "streamlining" children and young people's services.

The authority also has to find 10m to make the redundancies.

Labour group leader Coun Steve Brady said: "They must take great care that the services that are provided for the people of this city are not harmed by any knee jerk reactions. Professionalism is needed by both managers and the trade unions."