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180 LOSE JOBS IN COUNCIL U TURN

23-06-2009

Thousands of Birmingham Council workers will be looking over their shoulders this morning, as it emerged that their employer has reneged on a promise of “jobs for life”. The city’s Cabinet will vote next week to shed 180 jobs at the city’s old people’s homes.

Union leaders are warning that up to 400 jobs could be at risk in total as the rolling “modernisation” (ie closure) programme continues, and warn that if there are compulsory redundancies, industrial action will be on the cards.

The Cabinet is being asked to seek a £2.9 million loan from the Department of Communities and Local Government to meet the cost of redundancies and associated pensions. Savings are anticipated at £4.8 million a year, as growing numbers of older people are placed in sheltered accommodation or private care.

A recent decision to close the Aldridge Road Centre in Perry Barr and Collingwood in West Heath has precipitated the crisis and there could be worse to come as the Council grapples with the vexed issue of care for the elderly.

The decision to cut jobs is a major embarrassment for the administration and its Chief Executive Stephen Hughes who less than two years ago promised the Council’s 40,000 staff “jobs for life” as long as they were flexible.

Still, readers will be re-assured to know that - according to the Cabinet paper at least – the decision to hand out numerous P45’s is consistent with the vision of “a global city with a local heart”.

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