EVERY worker at Wirral council faces being sacked and offered a new contract with new conditions if they do not accept changes to their employment.
All council staff, around 4,980 people, could be given “formal notice of dismissal” and offered “re- engagement” (their jobs back), but on new terms and conditions.
The move could be carried out after an anticipated ballot of council staff next January over the changes.
A confidential document produced by the authority only titled “draft overall timeline” outlines the steps senior management think they may need to go through as they press forward with their proposed changes to staff contracts.
Unison branch secretary Joe Taylor said it made him question the point of the consultation over the changes which started with staff last week. He said: “I asked them [council managers] if we do not get agreement on changes to terms and conditions, what are you going to do and they said they would not disclose that. But the document quite clearly says they have got a plan to dismiss and then re- engage on February 4.”
The timeline document emerged as the council announced a package of £49m-worth of cuts options to tackle a £39m budget deficit.
Staff are being asked to accept changes which the union said will hit the least well paid and those in frontline services hardest.
They include reduced enhancements and pay for unsociable working times, unpaid leave, loss of car allowances – as well as being told “several hundred” are likely to be made redundant in the coming months. Around 2,900 have already been sent letters saying their jobs are “at risk”.
Mr Taylor said the union would continue to try to find alternatives to make the savings demanded.
Chief executive Graham Burgess admitted he was “disappointed” the document had become public and said it could “unnecessarily spread concern among the work force”.
However, he said there was “no presumption” they will need to sack staff but said his role as chief executive meant he must “plan for all eventualities”.
He added: “While I hope to reach agreement with the union, we have to put in train a procedure that, should that not happen, members have the option to take whatever action they need.”
The council timeline contains 77 action points with dates on two pages of A3, such as a Sunday, November 4, briefing by the chief executive to the Labour group advising on the outcome of the public consultation where people were asked which council services they prioritise, and an option to call a special cabinet meeting in January, dates for producing “at risk” letters for staff and when redundancy notices can be sent out.