Sheffield Council has laid off 70 staff, paid them more than £700,000 in redundancy settlements and then rehired them, The Star can reveal.
The redundancies and rehirings have taken place over the last five years when both Labour and the Liberal Democrats have been in power.
■ 2008-9: Three staff rehired who had been paid £38,427.63 redundancy.
■ 2009-10: Seven staff re-hired who had been paid £42,190.15 redundancy.
■ 2010-11: 26 staff re-hired who had been paid £349,443.57 redundancy.
■ 2011-12: 26 staff re-hired who had been paid £229,502.73 redundancy.
■ 2012-13: Eight staff re-hired who had been paid £43,853.94 redundancy.
■ Total 70 staff, paid £703,418.02 in redundancy.
Chris Jenkinson, regional organiser for Unison, has called for an investigation.
He said: “These figures raise an eyebrow. They would seem to suggest that the skills these individuals held were critically important for delivery of services. “If that’s the case, why were they made redundant in the first place?
“There needs to be an investigation into why this has happened. The £700,000 figure is a substantial sum.”
Sheffield Council has not revealed what positions the affected staff worked in, or whether they received their old jobs back or were given different roles.
Ruling Labour councillors said they were reluctant to spend money on an investigation into the practice – but said the situation came about at the start of the coalition Government’s budget cuts when circumstances were ‘constantly changing’.
The council would not say if it was considering changing policies to ensure people whose roles were essential could not take redundancy.
n Opinion: Page 8