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Thousands are sent job warnings by authority

PUBLISHED: 17:06 15 November 2010

THOUSANDS of staff working within Suffolk County Council's children's and young people's services have been sent letters by the authority, warning them that their jobs could be at risk.

But the move has provoked irritation among union bosses, and Ann Glover, of UNISON said the letter, which many union members felt was very threatening, was “a hammer to crack a nut”.

She said: “From our talks with the council, it seems as if they are looking to lose 190 posts out of a total number of more than 2,200. It should be possible to manage that kind of reduction without resorting to redundancy or anything like that given the normal staff turnover.

“This letter has worried many, many people just as we approach the Christmas period and we feel they are taking a hammer to crack a nut.”

Graham Newman, county councillor with responsibility for children and young people, said the letters had been sent out because the authority had to give staff 90 days’ notice of consultation about possible redundancies.

He said the council did not know how many posts would go because they still had not had their final financial settlement for next year from the government.

Mr Newman said: “This is partly linked in with the decision earlier this week to change the way youth services are run but of course it does go wider than that.

“Many of the people who have received these letters will work for the county three, six or nine hours a week. We are not their main income stream.

“We are looking to change things from April next year and need to finalise those changes from the middle of February.

“To achieve those changes then we need to give 90 days notice, which is why we will start a formal consultation period next week.”

He said the county was keen to avoid redundancies wherever possible.

Some staff who could lose work by changes to youth clubs might carry on working for another provider – he was aware that town and parish councils were already looking at taking over some successful youth clubs.

“There is much still to be determined but we are under an obligation to keep staff informed about changes that are being considered,” he said.

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