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Birmingham Council’s Equalities boss Alan Rudge has denied the local authority ever promised workers “jobs for life”– apparently contradicting his own Chief Executive Stephen Hughes who made the pledge two years ago on The Stirrer.

We reported earlier this week that 180 employees in city care homes were losing their jobs – with the threat unless enough volunteers came forward, there would be compulsory redundancies.

This seemed a clear breach of Hughes’ promise in August 2007, when he said: "There is no need for anyone not to have useful employment at the Council.

"What I won't compromise on is that they have to recognise their job will change.”

In other words, given the natural turnover that takes place in any large organisation, there would be a job for any worker who wanted one – as long as they were willing to be flexible.

That’s not how Rudge sees it. In a statement issued in response to our article on Tuesday he said: “The employee bargain does not guarantee any employee a job for life. “The employee bargain is based on the premise that where jobs are at risk, the council will help employees to remain in employment where possible.

"In order to achieve this, an employee may need to re-train, develop new skills, and or be flexible about the location of work. Help in doing this will be provided by the Council's InSource service and other mechanisms.

“Fundamentally though, there needs to be a suitable vacancy for them to move into.

”The Council never has and never should offer an employee a job for life. This is because circumstances change.

“The current economic crisis amply demonstrates this, forcing many employers, including local firms to review their staffing numbers and in some instances, declare redundancies.

”Responsible employers like the City Council put in place mechanisms to help reduce the potential for job losses by implementing measures such as our award-winning HR InSource service to help to manage internal redeployment into alternative roles where possible.

”In relation to the issues in Adults and Communities, we are working hard to support those employees at risk of redundancy and to support employees into alternative roles, this has been achieved with a lot of success so far, however, there are only so many jobs available.

“We will continue to explore all avenues and options available".



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