Council slashes redundancy pay limit ahead of job cuts

THE most redundancy pay any Calderdale Council worker can expect in future will be £26,000.

Council leaders have unanimously agreed that the 104-week limit should be slashed to 52 weeks.

With a new 500-a-week cap on pay-outs, the changes will hit managers and chief officers hardest.

The recommendation –which has been approved by Calderdale Council's cabinet members – is due to be confirmed by the business and governance committee on January 11.

The proposal faced fierce opposition from town hall trade unions and staff.

But it still leaves redundancy payments in Calderdale more generous than those in neighbouring authorities, which give a maximum of 30 weeks' pay to those whose jobs are scrapped.

The changes are due to come into effect when the council starts shedding jobs as a result of budget cuts.

The deputy leader of the council, Councillor Tim Swift, claimed it could be a year before the number of redundancies was known for certain, but early estimates of as many as 1,000 out of 6,500 were probably on the high side.

He said the 104-week figure was introduced in 2007 when redundancies were rare.

"You have to remember that a lot of people who pay council tax get much worse redundancy pay than the proposed 52 weeks," he added.

The leader of the council, Coun Janet Battye, said the existing scheme was way out of kilter with other councils, and reducing it to a maximum of 26,000 would make it affordable.

Paul Wiehl, of the Association of Educational Psychologists, complained about the lack of meaningful negotiations with unions and said the changes would do a great disservice to staff.

Shelagh Hirst, from the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, said staff in Calderdale were generally lower paid and there was no reason for redundancy pay and conditions of service to match every other council.