Norwich council staff have redundancy pay cut by a third
ARCHANT NORFOLK PHOTOGRAPHIC © 2007
Workers made redundant from Norwich City Council will get less generous pay-outs in the future after city hall chiefs cut redundancy packages by a third. Council staff received a letter from head of HR, Dawn Bradshaw, earlier this month telling them about the cut to future exit packages.
The letter, seen by this newspaper, said the changes were caused by “financial pressures”.
Despite starting a consultation with Unison about it in September last year, no agreement could be reached with the union.
The council’s Unison representative Kevin O’Grady said: “We wouldn’t come to an agreement on it because we think it is fundamentally wrong to make the cut. The cuts have been made because we think there will be further redundancies.”
But council leader Alan Waters said the reduction was not about making redundancies.
Under the changes, which start in February 2018, staff will get one-and-a-half times their statutory redundancy pay, rather than 2.2 times the statutory amount.
It means if someone is due 10 weeks of statutory redundancy pay, they will get 15 weeks’ pay rather than 22 weeks as before.
Like all local authorities, City Hall has had its budget slashed over the last seven years leading to redundancies.
In 2016/17, exit packages cost the council more than £400,000 for just seven members of staff, but that was expected to rise to almost £1m that year with more staff being made redundant.
The pay-offs included two staff members who received more than £100,000 each.
The year before that exit packages at City Hall topped £670,000.
The letter to council staff dated November 8 said the council’s redundancy packages were still “substantially more than the statutory entitlement”.
The changes were agreed by the council’s cabinet in April this year, but the public and press were excluded from that part of the meeting.
Mr Waters said: “This new arrangement, which now brings us in line with that of other councils, is not about making redundancies.
“This is one of many measures to help us to protect jobs and frontline services in the face of continued government austerity.
“This is just one small part of our approach to making up the gap left by government cuts.
“We continually look at ways we can deliver services better and more efficiently.”