No forced job losses at Calderdale Council far

NO council workers in Calderdale have been compulsorily forced out of a job since budgets started to be slashed.

The council has shed 373 jobs - or five per cent of its workforce - with numbers dropping from 7,051 to 6,678.

It is in the first year of planned three-year programme of £67 million cuts as part of the Government’s austerity package.

Figures nationally show more than 101,000 fewer people are now working in local government in the non-teacher workforce since last year’s general election.

Calderdale has fared better than most and is ranked 92nd in a league table of 314 authorities based on job losses, according to the Local Government Association.

Kent tops the list with 3,107 losses or 12.2 per cent. Bradford has shed 3.1 per cent, Leeds 3.8, Kirklees 4.8 and Wakefield 9 per cent.

Calderdale Council lea-der Janet Battye and Unison branch secretary Gary Firth said meaningful consultation had prevented compulsory job losses and they both hoped that would be the case going forward.

Councillor Battye (Lib-Dem Calder) said the losses had been achieved through voluntary retirement and redundancy.

“It has been really hard work and a very thorough budget review process,” she said.

“Budget plans proposed for next year are about making Calderdale Council a more efficient organisation.”

She said the council was also working hard to stimulate local business and job opportunities through its economic taskforce.

“I know things are going to get harder,” she said.

Mr Firth praised the council for consulting with the public and trade unions and working to avoid compulsory redundancies amidst drastic reductions in funding.

“A lot of work has been going on behind the scenes with trade unions to restructure services to make the cost savings required without cutting staff,” he said.

The council is also saving money by not automatically filling vacancies and that potentially could cut hundreds of jobs.

The GMB union said the not filling vacancies nationally was hitting hard the near one million young people out of work.

“As a consequence these job losses will show up in the unemployment figures today,” said national secretary Brian Strutton.

Last week Calderdale Council deputy leader Tim Swift warned that if council tax didn’t rise next year - as the Government intends - another £2 million would have to be saved locally.