Jobs may be at risk at City of York Council – as the local authority looks to balance the books in tough financial circumstances.
Budget papers propose more than £1.4 million in savings linked to staffing reductions, reviews and efficiencies in the next two years.
No further information has been released but Cllr Danny Myers asked senior councillors if they are aware of the scale of the expected job losses that they could be agreeing to if the budget is approved.
Speaking at a meeting of the executive, he said: “I’m trying to understand if you have been made aware of that detail, which I think is incredibly important.”
He also asked if senior councillors know how many staff could see their jobs outsourced to other organisations.
Council chief executive Ian Floyd said: “These are challenging financial times and there are some difficult choices that the council will have to make. We have committed at all times to try to seek to minimise any compulsory redundancies.”
Cllr Nigel Ayre said there is not set figure on jobs at risk but that senior councillors are aware of the range, adding that some roles could be moved to other departments.
Andrea Dudding, Unison branch secretary for York, said the council has already chosen not to fill some vacancies that have arisen – meaning fewer employees are at risk of redundancy.
She said: “The real impact of some of these decisions are going to be after the budget has been approved. The council has already taken positive action last October by having really strict recruitment controls.
“But that’s not to say there won’t be knock-on effects. You can’t cut staff and budgets without it having a massive impact.
“These savings have been forced on the council by government decisions. It’s the government that decided to de-fund local authorities.
“It’s the government that asked the council to spend to support people who are affected by Covid and then haven’t paid councils back properly.”
She said some of the proposed cuts may not be made, but added that she has concerns about the outsourcing of jobs: “The same old model of thinking that other people are going to be able to pick up the tab through outsourcing is a failed ideology. All it does is drive wages and terms and conditions down.”
Council tax is set to rise by 4.99 per cent under budget proposals due to be decided at a meeting on Thursday. The local authority is also looking to make nearly £8 million in savings as it reels from the impact of the pandemic.
Some new jobs
Mr Floyd, speaking after the meeting, said: “There are likely to be some changes internally at the council, including the reduction of posts, but this will only happen after redeployment and other HR processes are considered, including TUPE, in order to safeguard some jobs.
“It is important to note that whilst some jobs may be reduced, other jobs will be created.
“Once further work has been carried out to fully develop these plans, and subject to Full Council approval, we will consult with any affected staff and trade unions, to consider their views on proposals, before any final implementation.
“Given the potential implications of any changes, it would not be appropriate to cause undue concern by speculating at this stage.
“However, as always, we will be strictly following the required policy and procedures for restructuring within the organisation, and this will ensure that we adhere to all necessary employment legislation.”
The budget proposals will be discussed at a full council meeting on Thursday at 6pm.