Kier to axe jobs as work dries up

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FIFTY jobs are to go at Sheffield Council’s housing maintenance contractor Kier due to ‘declining workload’ and ‘efficiencies necessary in the current economic climate’, the company has announced.

The firm, based on Manor Lane, is making the redundancies despite there being no change in the amount it is paid by Sheffield Council for its contract to repair council houses.

All 1,050 workers at Kier Sheffield, a subsidiary of the national building and property firm, were sent a letter warning them of the job losses.

One shocked worker said: “We’ve all received letters and it’s very unsettling news. Some of us have families, bills and mortgages to pay.

“It’s also terrible timing coming up towards Christmas.”

Sheffield Council’s cabinet member for housing, Coun Harry Harpham, was unaware of the redundancies when contacted by The Star.

He said: “It’s the first I’ve heard about it.

“It’s extremely sad news that people will be losing their jobs but we have not asked Kier to make efficiency savings and the company’s contract with us is not up for renewal until 2014.”

Kier Sheffield’s workload has been hit by the winding down of the Decent Homes council house modernisation programme - but its maintenance work is unaffected.

However, it is anticipated the council will ask its subcontractors such as Kier to make savings as the authority seeks to save £50 million over the next financial year.

A Kier spokeswoman said: “As a result of the current economic downturn, Kier Sheffield is in consultation with trade union representatives regarding a reduction in staff numbers by approximately 50.

“We will do everything we can to help those affected secure work elsewhere in the business wherever possible. We do not expect this to impact on our service delivery.”

Kier staff contracted to manage Sheffield Town Hall and other council buildings are on a separate contract and are unaffected.

In September, Kier reported a 24 per cent rise in pre-tax profits to £68.9 million. Results to June 30, 2011, show revenue rose from £2,099 million to £2,179m.