600 more jobs to be axed at Sheffield Council

Demonstrators outside the Sheffield Town Hall.
Demonstrators outside the Sheffield Town Hall.
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AS MANY as 600 more jobs are set to be lost at Sheffield Council during the next financial year as part of £50 million cuts - which trade unions predict will hit frontline services.

The Star understands Town Hall bosses are to give official notice of the redundancies to the Government today or tomorrow.

A meeting of senior councillors is then to be held on Monday, to discuss options which have already been drawn up to make savings in 2012/13.

The news comes after The Star revealed yesterday council leader Julie Dore intends to write to every household in Sheffield asking for residents’ views on how the cuts should be made.

Chris Jenkinson, regional organiser for Unison, said: “The 600 figure is full time equivalent posts, and could in reality involve a higher number of people because there will inevitably be part-time staff being made redundant.

“There is not a lot of fat left within the council and people are already enduring unsustainable workloads.

“Losses of this magnitude would come into the territory of frontline services.”

Mr Jenkinson, whose union is the biggest at Sheffield Council, said managers within departments have been asked to come up with savings of 10 per cent for 2012/13, and to categorise savings as ‘more’ and ‘less’ contentious.

“The 600 job losses are conditional on councillors accepting both types of savings,” said Mr Jenkinson.

“So if some of the more contentious ones are not agreed, further savings will have to be looked at, which could mean even more job losses. Also, a delay in implementing savings would mean more cuts.”

Job losses set to be made in 2012/13 follow 873 posts axed in the current financial year - which sparked public rallies and a storm of protests. Sheffield trade unionists joined national demonstrations to protest at the scale of local Government cuts.

Although only 17 of those were compulsory redundancies, and the rest were voluntary, Mr Jenkinson warned: “If you make the offer of voluntary redundancy once, most people who would go for it would have taken up the offer the first time.

“There are unlikely to be many more likely volunteers this time - so a far greater number of compulsory redundancies.”

Sheffield Council deputy leader and cabinet member for finance, Coun Bryan Lodge, confirmed: “There are some awful decisions we are going to have to take. We have to work through what the council can do.”

But opposition Lib Dem leader Coun Shaffaq Mohammed blamed Labour for reinstating spending the Lib Dems had already pruned, only to have to pare it back again now.

“They raised people’s hopes only to let them down,” he said.

The Labour administration has pledged not to cut funding from its apprenticeship scheme, which is continuing for next year, and not to close libraries. It is also unlikely to bring in Sunday or Bank Holiday Monday on-street parking charges.