South Scotland

Scottish Borders Council job cut figures emerge

Image copyright Richard Webb

It has emerged that 22 employees have been redundant by Scottish Borders Council in this financial year.

The authority said the jobs had already gone across the area.

The council said the hours of the 22 people who had gone made up the equivalent of 15.7 full-time jobs.

It said the people made compulsorily redundant included two kitchen assistants, three cooks, two learning assistants and a school assistant.

Two caretakers and three clerical staff also went.

The council said these were the first compulsory redundancies for three years and no more were planned.

Some of the people made redundant were part-time workers.

Analysis, Jamie McIvor, BBC Scotland local government correspondent

Councils are not covered by the Scottish government's commitment to avoid compulsory redundancies.

However, most councils have managed to avoid doing this.

Thousands of jobs have been lost across Scotland's 32 councils in recent years.

However, compulsory redundancies have been exceptional.

Generally councils have cut their headcount through voluntary redundancies, early retirements and not filling vacancies.

Councils argue they have a good record offering staff whose post is being closed an alternative job so they can avoid redundancies.

Inevitably though, some who left because they did not like the job they were being offered may feel their case was, in effect, a compulsory redundancy.

A council spokesman said: "The 22 compulsory redundancies made during this financial year have only been made following full consultation and only where absolutely necessary and in a variety of posts and locations.

"The majority of these were made between five and ten months ago.

"Scottish Borders Council is committed to minimising compulsory redundancies and we operate a voluntary severance/early retirement programme to minimise any impact on staff."

The spokesman said the authority had a "robust redeployment process" which ensured it could minimise the number of compulsory redundancies.

"As the council makes changes to its structure and delivers improvements in service provision it is inevitable there will be an impact on staffing levels," he added.

'Efficiency drives'

He stressed the number of compulsory redundancies was "minimal" in comparison with both the size of the overall workforce and in relation to "similar-sized organisations".

Janet Stewart, Unison's regional organiser for Scottish Borders Council, said the redundancies had already taken place.

"Unison worked with employers and Unison members to negotiate these redundancies at the time," she said.

"The council continue to work through their re-organisation and efficiency drives and Unison are working hard to get the best deal for our members and we are fighting every job loss.

"But it is important to clarify that there are no plans for compulsory redundancies on the table now or in the immediate future."

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