Union talks triggered as hundreds of Leeds council job cuts loom

Leeds Civic Hall
Leeds Civic Hall
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Fresh talks between Leeds City Council and union officials are set to start as the authority prepares for a raft of possible redundancies in the wake of wide-ranging budget cuts.

The cash-strapped council has previously said that up to 2,000 job cuts could be needed by 2020 as a result of the Government’s austerity measures and “demand-led pressures”.

And while bosses have now revised that figure down to 415 full-time equivalent jobs being lost by 2020, they admit they may be forced to implement “potential compulsory reduncies” to further help balance the books.

A new report signed off by the council’s chief executive Tom Riordan says that while the authority has “avoided the need to make large scale compulsory redundancies” up to now, “further funding reductions necessitate the need to continue collective consultation with the trade unions to realise savings, whilst endeavouring to avoid compulsory redundancies where possible”.

The council has now issued a new statutory S188 notice which triggers talks with unions, and allows it to “collectively consult...in the light of further anticipated funding reductions for the period 2016/17-2020/21”.

The council is expecting to see its overall Government grants cut by another £18.1m by 2019/20.

“We believe this would equate to a reduction of 415 FTE posts through to March 2020,” the report says.

“After this date, a further £23m reduction is forecast – although the implications for job reductions has not been made at this stage.”

The hope is that the new talks will help reduce the need for redundancies through recruitment freezes, voluntary redundancy, reducing agency staff and “flexible” redeployment.