Shropshire Council job losses: About 50% of staff may go

Shropshire Council building Shropshire Council intends to save £80m over the next four years

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Up to about half of the staff at Shropshire Council could face redundancy as it plans to save £80m.

The authority employs 4,674 people - excluding school staff - which is the equivalent of 3,389 full time jobs, it said.

The council, which said it needed to save about half of its costs on the people budget, has offered voluntary redundancy to nearly all of its staff.

Trade union Unison said redundancies would have "devastating consequences".

The council has saved £87m since 2011 and plans to save another £80m over the next four years.

Staff have received an email saying voluntary redundancies will be considered before compulsory redundancies are made.

'Very different'

Those employed in schools did not receive the letter.

Chief executive Clive Wright said the final number of redundancies was not known but added "it's going to be substantial".

He said: "In rough terms we're thinking it could be up to about 50% of the current staff so that's the size of redundancies that we are going to have to make.

"On the people budget we need to save around about half of our costs there, so half the costs would roughly equate but not in an exact proportion to about half the people.

"We are looking at how by doing things differently we can still give the Shropshire taxpayer good results for their money albeit we will be doing that work wherever we can with fewer people."

Council leader Keith Barrow said it hoped this move would reduce its workforce "without the need for compulsory redundancies".

He said: "The vast majority of the authority's money is used to pay staff.

"The fact is that councils are now a very different place to work than they were five or 10 years ago and as we continue to commission more services we will need fewer and fewer staff on the payroll."

'Disappear forever'

In 2011, council staff received a pay cut and changes to their contracts as the authority implemented savings.

Unison, which represents about 40% of the council's employees, said both services and workers would suffer.

Alan James, from the union, said: "If these proposals are carried out in full there can be no doubt that some services will suffer devastating consequences and some will disappear forever.

"We are clearly opposed to any job losses and the subsequent effect that this will inevitably have on the services delivered every day to the people of Shropshire."

Staff members have been given until 6 September to make a decision on the redundancy offer.

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