Brent Council staff cuts

A FURTHER 300 staff will be made redundant June next year as Brent Council looks to knock �21 million of its wage bill, according to a union leader.

The Council will offer every member of staff the opportunity of voluntary redundancy in a bid to prevent forced lay-offs.

However, Phil O’Reilly, Unison’s branch secretary at Brent Council, warned of possible strike action as anxiety among staff turns to anger.

At least 100 of the redundancies will be management after a review highlighted ratios of one manager to one employee.

A report by auditors, Price Waterhouse Coopers, recommended at least six staff to every manager.

Ann John, Brent’s council leader, said: “It’s really awful but one of our problems is over-staffing. Eighty per cent of our total budget goes on staff wages.”

She also admitted that some services would have to be cut completely to save a further �16 million from the budget.

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Ms O’Reilly said the move could lead to industrial action as anger lingers over recent cuts that saw more than 800 employees’ London Weighting Allowance (LWA) cut.

She said: “People are very anxious which is turning into anger which could lead into industrial action. I think it’s (the reality) slowly hitting home.”

Brent Council gave staff on Inner LWA an ultimatum to accept Outer LWA, a cut of up to �1,500 each, or have their contracts terminated and offered to reapply for their jobs under the new terms and conditions.

It is expected the 170 people who did not reply by the November deadline will be forced onto the reduced OLWA next December.

Meanwhile, senior managers at Brent Council will hand in proposals on cutting staff and restructuring on Friday, December 17, to a corporate review team who will report to the corporate management team on January 6.

A Council spokeswoman said about the redundancies: “We do not have an exact figure we are working to (but) please be assured that Brent remains committed to protecting front line jobs and services and minimising the number of compulsory redundancies.”