Cumbria

Carlisle City Council redundancy threat 'causing illness'

Carlisle Civic Centre Image copyright Google

Half of stress-related illnesses at a council are being caused by threats of job cuts, councillors have been told.

Carlisle City Council has agreed to set up a sub group to investigate how to deal with the effect of "organisational change" on sickness levels.

Stress, depression, and fatigue symptoms accounted for 1,065 lost days last year, almost a third (32%) of the council's sickness cases.

The council said the majority of staff were in "rude health".

At a meeting of the business and transformation scrutiny panel, deputy leader Les Tickner said personal difficulties and factors outside work were also fuelling sickness.

HR consultant Sue Kaveney said: "We have had some of the substantial change programmes, where we have been redefining a service and individuals placed at risk of redundancy have to go through a process of re-applying for their job.

"Uncertainty for some individuals this triggers them to go off sick."

The council saw its overall sickness levels rise by a quarter compared to the previous year, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

However, Mr Tickner said: "The vast majority of our staff are in rude health."

He said helping those off sick was "important" but illness could be caused by many things.

The council has shaved more than £9.2m from its budget since 2011 and needs to save a further £1.2m in 2019-20.

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