Southend Council admin job losses worse than expected says union

A trade union says a jobs reshuffle at Southend Council to save £1million a year will result in more job losses than originally expected.

The council is in the middle of streamlining administrative teams in order to cut costs in the face of falling Government revenue.

When announced earlier this year it was proposed 29 full time posts would be created while 38 would be “deleted” – a loss of just nine jobs.

Unison now says 28 posts are going with remaining staff at risk of increased workloads.

Clair Wormald, Southend branch secretary for Unison, said: “Southend Council aims to save £1million a year by restructuring business support services across the organisation.

This affects 157 existing posts and threatens to cut 28 jobs.

“The plan is to centralise roles which are considered to be admin, hoping to make savings by cutting across specialisms.

“Unison is supporting members who face uncertainty and the threat of redundancy and will give everyone the individual representation they need. We are also questioning the impact of the proposals.

“Admin and support jobs aren’t just filing or paper shuffling – they’re a vital support for frontline services.”

Ms Wormald added: “Restructures and cost savings aren’t a victimless crime! They can cost our members their livelihoods but they also make it harder and more stressful for the staff who are left to deliver the services our community needs.”

Ian Gilbert, leader of the council, said Government funding cuts had left the council with little choice but to tighten their belts.

He added: “The business support review involves looking at a range of roles across the council. That work is well underway and we appreciate this work is difficult for those involved. The council’s policies are being followed accordingly.

“We always firstly target vacant posts, interim arrangements, agency cover and fixed term contracts and every effort will be made to avoid compulsory redundancies. We will work to ensure that any staff identified at risk from the proposed staffing restructures can be redeployed where appropriate.

“Continued central Government funding cuts, a reduced tax base and the impact of COVID-19 means we continue to face significant challenges to build a financially sustainable future and continue to deliver services that people need.

“Therefore we need to be looking at all areas of our budget to identify how we can deliver services in an even more efficient manner but also make difficult choices.”

Advertisement

Christine Sexton

Local Democracy Reporter