Jobs threat at Sheffield housing depot

Kier, Manor Lane, Sheffield
Kier, Manor Lane, Sheffield
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Dozens of jobs are at risk at Sheffield’s housing maintenance service – currently run by contractor Kier – as work is scaled down and retendering takes place.

The service, based at Manor Lane depot, Manor Park, employs 800 people, who maintain 42,000 houses for Sheffield Council.

Kier has run the department since 2003 and its contract was due to finish last year but was given a short extension.

The council is now retendering for a long-term contract from next year.

But the number of staff is set to be reduced as the Decent Homes project under which all council houses have received significant refurbishment, is almost finished.

One worker said: “People are worried about their futures. We would have preferred the council to take the service back in house, so profits are reinvested in the service instead of private bidders trying to outdo each other cutting staff to the bone.”

Sheffield Council said Kier is among four organisations bidding for the new contract – but would not name the other three.

Coun Harry Harpham, Sheffield Council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for housing, said: “Any job losses are something we would seek to keep to a minimum but it would be up to whichever company is running the service.

“There are four organisations which have expressed an interest in the housing maintenance service and one will be chosen as our contractor next year.”

Coun Harpham added that the council would seek to ensure Sharrow Industries – the arm of Kier Sheffield employing disabled people – continues.

A Kier spokeswoman: “We can confirm that Kier Sheffield is in consultation with trade union representatives regarding a reduction in employees.

“This is as a result of the current Decent Homes contract coming to an end around March 2014.

“We will do everything we can to help those affected secure work elsewhere in the business. We will also continue to give our staff as much support as possible.”