Isle Of Man / Ellan Vannin

Isle of Man talks begin on reducing staffing costs

Post-budget talks have begun between unions and the government to identify where staff cuts can be made.

The move comes as the Isle of Man attempts to make spending cuts totalling £35m in the next year.

Chief Minister Allan Bell said there needed to be a 10% reduction in staffing costs in the next four years.

MHK Alfred Cannan said: "It is vital that we continue to engage with staff and their representatives to explain the need for change."

Over the past year, 170 government posts have been cut and the trend is expected to continue with another 175 job losses in the pipeline before 2014.

'Mixed messages'

Other budget cuts include the closure of 11 pre-school education centres in the island along with the closure by 2014 of a residential care home in Douglas.

Regional industrial organiser for UNITE Steve Salter said these were difficult times and he looked forward to more communication with government officials.

"Certainly the message coming from the chief minister is very clear, the government does seem to want to engage and we welcome that, but evidence of this has yet to be seen," he said.

"There are mixed messages coming through right now and while we all know the government needs to make cuts, all we are seeing is a focus on front-line services and lower paid staff. When are we going to see the politicians start contributing to their pensions?"

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