Croydon council is being urged to pause its consultation on mass redundancies in order to preserve jobs and protect frontline services during the health and economic crisis.
The call to pause the consultation has been made by Unite, the UK’s leading union, which represents hundreds of staff at the south London council.
A total of 450 jobs are at risk at the council meaning 15 per cent of jobs at the council are earmarked to be cut.
Croydon council says that the job losses are necessary as a result of a £65 million deficit in its finances which have been made worse by the Covid-19 pandemic.
In some departments there are proposals to cut up to a quarter of positions. Members are raising severe concerns that staff who remain will be left with unmanageable workloads and that it will result in significantly poorer frontline services.
Unite has been engaging in the consultation process but it has become apparent that this is not a carefully planned re-organisation of the workforce but instead that Croydon is looking to reduce numbers and costs as quickly as possible.
Unite believes that costs could be reduced and jobs saved in a number of areas without cutting staff, but such measures are not being considered due to the tightness of the consultation period.
Croydon, like other councils has suffered a decade of austerity, which has led to the erosion of services and the council’s reserves and it is clear that the government needs to be providing far more assistance to Croydon and other local authorities.
Unite regional officer Clare Keogh said, “Unite is urging Croydon to pause these reckless jobs cuts and fully consider all options to preserve as many jobs and protect frontline services.
“Croydon council workers and the borough’s residents need to have confidence that the council is adopting a properly thought out strategy and not a fire sale,” she added.
“It is vital to remember the real villain in the piece is the Conservative government which has been starving councils of funding for a decade. Council’s have been in the frontline of coping with the Covid-19 pandemic but have not received anything like the funding needed to meet these challenges.”
By Barckley Sumner