No jobs guarantee from Fife Council as ‘tough’ budget looms

Council workers can be given no cast-iron guarantee that they won’t be made redundant, a top manager has admitted, reports MIKE DELANEY.

And Fiona Allan said the full extent which the cash crisis facing the council would have on jobs wouldn’t become clear until after the Glenrothes local-based authority sets what is predicted to be one of the toughest budgets in its history in February.

Workforce change manager Ms Allan said the council wanted to manage any reductions in the number of posts as “consensually as possible”.

Last February, the ‘Gazette’ exclusively revealed how 3,500 of the council’s 20,000-plus staff had put their names down for voluntary pay-offs, while hundreds of others wanted to take ‘part-time’ retirement, cut their working hours, or take unpaid special leave and career breaks.

The response came after bosses put out feelers to allow them scope to reduce the head count at the cash-strapped council.

Most wanted to get out by the following month and the rest by 2014, by which time the council hopes to have cut its workforce by 15 per cent, to achieve savings of £90 million.

It has emerged that 189 people took pay-offs in the year to March past, the last period for which full figures are available, while it’s estiimated that figure will have jumped to 500 by the time the current financial year ends in April.

In 2010-11, around 191 people were made redundant and such pay-offs may not always be confined to the volunteer pool because of where the council wants to make changes.

Ms Allan added: “Compulsory redundancy tends to occur in areas of fairly unique service delivery.

“At this stage, it is too early to assess the impact for 2013/14 as no budget decisions have been taken yet.

“As we have said before, we will exhaust every alternative before resorting to compulsory redundancies.”