300 council jobs on the line after Chancellor’s cuts

UP to 300 council job losses now seem inevitable after Wednesday’s Comprehensive Spending Review announcement.

Unions have been in negotiation with Havering’s administration for months after the council announced its contingency plan back in July, naming 509 people at risk of redundancy.

Social work, customer service, street cleaning, social care, libraries and leisure centres are all at risk areas.

Agency workers, not included in the council’s chop list, could also have a huge affect, and would be the first to go.

Social workers and planning officers will have to take on more administrative tasks.

Havering branch secretary for Unison, Garry Chick-Mackay, said: “There’s clearly going to be an impact on services. The employer is saying that these are back office jobs but these workers are not just twiddling their thumbs wasting taxpayers’ money, they’re doing work that otherwise the frontline workers would have to do.”

Mr Chick-Mackay said a 25 per cent cut in customer service staff was on the way.

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The council is also planning to remove environmental health officers from noise pollution investigations and prosecutions – advising residents how to do it themselves instead, he said.

“If you’re an elderly resident sitting at home with problem neighbours causing misery for you don’t want to be told you have to take them to court.”

Sean Ramsden, branch secretary for the Unite union was one of hundreds of union members who attended a mass rally on Tuesday against the cuts.

He said losing agency workers could have a devastating impact on services, adding that the cuts would hit the vulnerable in Havering as rank and file employees and middle managers would go rather than council executives.

He added: “The chief executive is on �60,000 more a year than the prime minister, that’s a saving right there. Do we need as many directors?

“It doesn’t help with councillors awarding themselves above inflation expenses; they should start looking at themselves.”

Mr Ramsden also condemned the Government’s plans to put up social housing rents.

“People will be made homeless, it doesn’t help the situation. “The working classes rely on social housing, it’s a blow to the working classes.”