Jobs loss sweetener

NEARLY 150 council workers whose jobs are facing the axe have been offered a sweetener to go early.

They are being given the opportunity to apply for voluntary early redudancy under the existing scheme so that those with the longest services could receive up to 104 weeks’ pay.

If they wait to the be sacked they will only qualify for a 52-week payout.

Trades unions have cautiously welcomed the offer.

“We are pleased that we have been able to make the council reconsider its position but we will continue to campaign on our members’ behalf against cuts to jobs and services,” said spokeswoman Sue McMahon.

To qualify for enhanced severance pay, those whose jobs are under threat will have to leave the council’s employ by April 18.

Earlier this week, Calderdale Council agreed a budget which will see £65 million less spent over the next three years, increased charges, cuts to services and no increase in council tax bills in April.

It had been expected to lead to 200 redundancies and 100 vacant posts being scrapped.

A review is to be carried out of all major services with a view to protecting front-line delivery and reducing the number of senior staff and managers.

The implications have begun to be spelled out to staff at meetings throughout Calderdale and workers are being given an indication about which jobs are under the greatest threat.

Last month, councillors voted to reduce compulsory redudancy pay from a maximum of 104 to 52 weeks, to bring the scheme into line with neighbouring areas.

A new £500-a-week earnings cap means it will hit the highest paid staff hardest.