700 staff get go-ahead to quit council

MORE than 700 staff could be allowed to leave their jobs at Doncaster Council through voluntary redundancy and early retirement.

But both council bosses and union leaders are warning compulsory job losses will follow.

A report which goes before Doncaster Council's ruling cabinet today reveals 706 applications to leave voluntarily have been approved, although 257 of those are pending specific decisions.

It will represent a 16 million saving on the council's payroll.

But a council spokesman said: "There is still a likelihood that we will need to reduce staff numbers in some areas beyond the losses from voluntary redundancy and voluntary early retirement."

In all, there were 1,081 staff who came forward to apply to leave.

The council invited staff to apply before Christmas and has now made

progress in processing the applications.

It says 382 staff were allowed to leave by the end of last year and six more would be leaving by the end of this month under signed agreements.

The council is preparing for what officers describe as the deepest cuts to public services spending for decades.

The current estimated budget gap for 2011-12 to 2014-15 is around 73 million, with 30 million in 2011-12.

Jim Board, the secretary of the Doncaster branch of the public sector workers union Unison, fears the final total of job losses over the next three years is likely to rise to around 2,000.

Some may come through vacant posts at the authority not being filled.

He said: "We are absolutely certain that there are going to be more job

losses at the local authority, and that will have a massive, detrimental impact on service delivery.

"We think the total number is between 900 and 1,200 further jobs to go, and that we're talking about around 2,000 in total.

"We completely reject the need for it.

"We understand that the Government are pulling the strings but we believe the council should be shouting loudly that Doncaster's services need increased funding, not cuts."

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