Union ballot over Leeds City Council cuts plan

Leeds Civic Hall.

Leeds Civic Hall.

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Unions are balloting 18,000 Leeds City Council workers over plans to implement £90m of cuts imposed on the authority this year by the Government.

The council plans to shed 3,000 jobs over the next four years and axe services.

Four unions representing 18,000 workers have been involved in negotiations aimed at making the savings without the need for compulsory redundancies.

Proposals have now been hammered out which the four unions are recommending to their members. They include voluntary redundancy, early retirement and redeployment.

So far 940 people have left voluntarily – almost one-third of the total needed over the next four years.

The deal contrasts with policies of some neighbouring councils which have announced plans to impose compulsory redundancies affecting thousands of workers.

The unions involved are the public service union Unison, general union GMB, Unite, and the construction workers’ union UCATT.

The city’s education workforce is being dealt with separately.

Neil Derrick, regional organiser of the GMB, said: “Refreshingly, Leeds City Council, from very early on, were up front and publicly said they wanted to avoid compulsory redundancies.

“We have come to a tentative agreement on a range of proposals which will mitigate and restrict the impact on employees. They have avoided attacking terms and conditions and going down the road of compulsory redundancies.

“On the back of that we have had consultations with our members and the response from them has been one of anger, not targeted at the council, but at the Government – the way that on top of its other attacks on public service workers, they are forcing the council to slash expenditure.”

Dick Croft, acting regional secretary of Unite, said: “We support measures where the council is trying to work with us. People understand that it is the Government imposing these cuts, not local councils.”

The ballot was due to close today.

peter.lazenby@ypn.co.uk

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