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Council redundancy plans during pandemic criticised

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Union calls three job cuts 'completely bewildering'

WEST Berkshire Council has come under fire from a trade union for plans to make three employees redundant during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Conservative-run council is considering job cuts and a number of other cost-cutting measures, as it must save £7.3m in 2021/22.

Unison described the decision as “completely bewildering” and said the three employees who are facing redundancy “have no disciplinary, attendance, or performance issues”.

In a statement, it added: “Unison rejects the business case put forward by the employer on this matter.

“We do not believe there are supportable reasons to make any staff redundant in the current climate, let alone for such thin and poorly evidenced reasons as efficiency and reorganisation.

“The changes will not save any public funds. In fact, the changes are likely to incur costs when redundancy payments and the requirement to advertise for replacement staff are considered.”

Councillor Carolyne Culver (Green Party) previously described the plans as “immoral” and called for them to be scrapped.

A final decision on those jobs will be made by the council’s executive, when it meets on Thursday, February 11.

If those plans are approved, the redundancies will be made when council departments are restructured.

Councillor Joanne Stewart, executive member for internal governance, said: “We will always be looking to ensure that we offer the most effective and efficient services we can, especially in light of Covid-19.

“This has hastened the need to enhance and change how we deliver services, and to make sure that we are able to respond to our residents needs and deliver those services, quickly and efficiently.”

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