Threat to jobs at Kier

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UP to 40 jobs are set to be lost among staff working for Sheffield Council’s facilities management contractor Kier – after the firm was asked to make £1.4 million of savings over the current financial year.

Consultation has started with trade unions representing staff at the firm, which took over management of the council’s buildings in 2009.

It is run as a separate company from Kier’s other Sheffield Council contract – the larger works department responsible for maintenance.

The cuts are part of £84 million of savings being made by the council during the 2011/12 financial year.

Employers at the contractor are angry because, while Sheffield Council cut 800 in-house jobs mostly through voluntary redundancies and people leaving their posts for other jobs or retirement, their redundancies are on a compulsory basis.

One said: “Kier employees feel like they have been hung out to dry.

“They also feel that Kier is more interested in retaining the council’s building maintenance contract.”

In a joint statement, Sheffield Council and Kier said: “Kier Asset Partnership Services delivers a range of property and facilities management services for Sheffield Council.

“As part of the necessary service changes following central Government’s Comprehensive Spending Review and further analysis of potential future consultancy workload, KAPS has been asked by the council to help deliver further efficiencies as part of its budget reduction process and the re-shaping of service delivery to meet its future needs.

“The council needs to achieve savings of over 30 per cent within three years, including savings of £80 million in the year 2011/12.

In order to help the council achieve this level of savings, changes will be introduced to facilitate more efficient ways of working.

“This will necessitate a change to the size and scope of some of the services which KAPS provide.

The aim is to reduce service costs by approximately £1.4 million per annum.

“These changes could result in up to 40 redundancies within KAPS.

Consultation with affected employees and trade unions have begun.

“It is important to note that the majority of services are being maintained and the first priority when looking at areas for potential savings has been to ensure that there is minimal impact on both internal and external customer service delivery.”