270 council jobs axed as chief takes pay cut

Sheffield Town Hall
Sheffield Town Hall
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SHEFFIELD Council has announced 270 jobs will be axed including highly-paid management posts and chief executive John Mothersole will take a wage cut as the authority implements £215 million of cuts.

But the number of redundancies is far less than feared - the GMB trade union having predicted up to 2,000 of the council’s 13,500 workforce could go.

Other large authorities have announced much heavier job losses, including 2,000 at Manchester City Council and 1,500 at Liverpool City Council.

Chief executive John Mothersole is to give up five per cent of his £184,588 salary, which has already been frozen for the last two years.

Around 300 more staff have volunteered for redundancy and 161 empty posts have not been filled, meaning the workforce is set to be reduced by 731 in total.

The council has notified the Government 800 jobs will be lost but officers say the higher number is a contingency as an “uppermost limit”.

Around half of the posts to go are in back office and management roles, helping achieve a 7.5 per cent cut in the cost of senior managers earning more than £50,000 per annum during 2011/12.

The reduction follows a previous 15 per cent cut in management implemented over the last two years.

Sheffield Council leader Paul Scriven - who has not taken an £800 increase in his £30,000 annual payment over the last two years - said redundancies will be spread evenly across departments, although posts in child protection and adult social care will be given “a degree of protection”.

Today Deputy Prime Minister and Sheffield Hallam MP, Nick Clegg said: “Every job loss is regrettable and I do not underestimate how difficult this will be for the people affected.

“But I know how hard Paul Scriven and all at Sheffield Council have worked to minimise the redundancies while protecting front line services.

“They have had to make tough decisions in very difficult circumstances after the mess Labour left the economy in.

“Sheffield Council has done this in a responsible manner and kept job losses much lower than Labour-controlled Liverpool and Manchester, where they seem to have put political point scoring above people’s livelihoods.

“The job loss figures in Sheffield are far fewer than the thousands Labour were bandying about.

“They should apologise to the people of Sheffield for their opportunistic scaremongering.”

The council is saving £219 million over the next three years, around £80 million of which will be made in the coming 12 months.

Coun Scriven said: “Although it is not good news for those affected, we have made efforts to keep job losses to a minimum and have managed to ensure the impact is less severe than in other cities.

“One way is to freeze staff pay rises, which affects everyone apart from the chief executive, and has saved up to 300 jobs from being lost.”

The freeze was opposed by unions but imposed after talks between management and union representatives failed.

Coun Scriven added: “There has been some good news for Sheffield’s economy with 500 private-sector jobs being created by Sky. Council staff earning below £21,000 a year will have a £250 pay rise.

“This administration is committed to reducing management costs and John Mothersole is leading by example.”

Coun Scriven said a freeze in council tax will be made in 2011/12 and “the vast majority of services will continue”.

“We have not yet decided where the redundancies will be made but we have made people aware certain areas will be vulnerable. “

Mr Mothersole said: “The decision to take a pay cut was a personal one. I’ve done it to maintain integrity with staff.”