COUNCIL chiefs have attacked claims that up to 1,000 jobs could go as a result of budget cuts—but admitted that 100 council workers could go.
The Advertiser reported last month how council workers’ union UNISON feared that swingeing cuts could see the total of job losses at Rotherham Borough Council topping the 1,000 mark in the next two years.
The borough council refused to comment on or deny that figure at the time, with council leader Roger Stone insisting: “We can’t say how many jobs will go.”
But a new bulletin issued to all staff by Cllr Stone and chief executive Martin Kimber casts doubt on the figure and urges staff to ignore “speculation” about job losses.
However, the document confirms that redundancies are likely and concedes: “At this stage we might need to consider the loss of up to 100 jobs.”
Rotherham Borough Council held three information sessions with concerned staff this week as bosses continued investigating how to make £11 million of cuts in the 2010/11 budget.
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In their latest update, Cllr Stone and Mr Kimber said: “Like a number of staff, we have read the recent media reports which quoted around 1,000 job losses.
“We can confirm now that these figures were not provided by anyone in the council.
“We are meeting with the trade unions fortnightly to keep them up-to-date with developments.
“In discussions we had with the unions in advance of the media reports, we confirmed we are likely to see some job losses.
“Indeed, we have been open about the fact that the size of the budget savings required are unlikely to be achieved without having to lose some posts.
“In instigating consultation, we advised our union colleagues that we might need to consider the loss of up to 100 jobs.
“We also indicated that we would work hard to keep this figure to a minimum and we are looking at all possible alternative options.”
The council is holding reviews of staffing levels to cut areas of duplication and “unify services” where possible.
It is also planning reviews of its financial and customer contact departments and the way it commissions services.
“It is important for us to stress this is part of a wider process of scrutinising the way we do business and challenging the ways in which we work,” the document said.
“It is vital to ensure that in the future, with a much reduced budget, the most-needed services can continue.
“We are therefore looking first at our back-office functions for savings to help protect frontline services but we also want to ensure frontline activity is as efficient as it can be.
“Your continued support and hard work is appreciated during what we know is a period of great uncertainty.”
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