Campaigners set to protest over Southend Council job cuts

Additional security has been drafted in as union campaigners prepare to confront Southend councillors over impending job cuts.

Unison and the GMB union have announced they will lobby councillors attending tonight’s full council meeting about the restructuring of roles which will see some jobs cut and others reorganised

The council has insisted only nine administrative jobs will be lost, however Unison fears up to 25 per cent of posts face cut backs.

A Unison spokesman said: “Members of the UNISON and GMB trade unions are planning a lobby of Southend councillors attending this full council meeting to highlight complaints about a proposed cut to business support services.

“Administrative and other support to teams across the council are planned to be cut by 25 per cent.

“Unions are furious at the lack of concrete information given to affected staff but also warn of consequences for local services if hard-pressed teams have to cope with their admin staff being removed.”

When announced earlier this year it was proposed 29 full time posts would be created while 38 would be “deleted”.

Paul Collins, councillor responsible for corporate services and performance delivery, acknowledged the process has been “difficult” for staff.

He said: “We have been made aware of the planned demonstration at full council on Thursday regarding the recent staffing restructure. The usual safety and security measures will be in place, as they are for any council meeting where a larger number of people are expected to attend.

“We have been engaging with unions and staff throughout this process, a process that has been extended to allow time for more consultation, and ideas and suggestions to be considered as part of revised proposals.

“We recognise this process has been difficult for all staff involved, and want to resolve any remaining concerns.”

Christine Sexton

Local Democracy Reporter