Wednesday, 6 October 2010
Tameside Council workers 'put under pressure to quit'
Council staff claim they are being put under pressure to retire early to help ease a looming budget crisis.
Tameside council workers say they are not being given enough time for life-changing decisions as bosses balance the books.
Public sector union Unison said one member of staff was told their job was going – and given a deadline of 24 hours to accept a payoff deal.
Town halls across Greater Manchester face huge public spending cuts as grants from central government are slashed.
Other Greater Manchester councils have announced details of projected savings targets and potential job losses.
But Tameside bosses are waiting for the scale of cuts to be revealed in the Treasury’s spending review on October 20 before it announces its position.
There are fears it could be forced to save between 25 and 40 per cent of its annual budget.
Unison says the council has launched reviews in all departments.
Workers over 55 can meet bosses to discuss early retirement. Voluntary severance for other workers is also being offered. Payments vary depending on days owed in lieu and holidays.
Anne Keighley, secretary of the Tameside branch of the union, urged workers with concerns to seek advice.
She said: “The union is concerned that staff are being put under pressure to make decisions in what are quite short time-scales.
“Some of these people have been at Tameside council for the majority of their working lives.
“Staff are being given deadlines to accept deals and it is likely that this practice would go on at other councils.”
Tameside council said it can’t comment on individual cases.
A spokesman said: “The council does not currently operate a formal severance scheme. We have been through a programme of allowing employees who wish to leave to do so on a voluntary basis.
“This can be through access to the pension scheme or by serving an appropriate notice period.
“Any employee who leaves on this programme can only do so on the basis of an approved financial business case and without there being any detriment to the delivery of services.
“No pressure is put on employees to leave the council – although the council will allow employees to leave at short notice if it is viable to do so.”
Manchester Evening News