Unpaid leave bid to curb redundancies

Coun David Eaves
Coun David Eaves
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COUNCIL workers have agreed to unpaid leave in a bid to prevent redundancies.

Fylde Council hopes the initiative will avoid the need for more compulsory job cuts as it bids to save £400,000 a year.

Town hall staff have agreed to take five days’ unpaid leave a year – equivalent to a two per cent pay cut – although one senior manager will be axed as part of a management re-shuffle.

And the council’s leader David Eaves has paid tribute to staff for their help as the council looks to avoid making drastic cuts.

Coun Eaves said: “We recognise it’s not comfortable when staff see the words ‘management review’ and ‘shared services’ and I want to place on record my thanks to the staff for the recent salary sacrifice which goes a long way towards avoiding compulsory redundancies.

“It’s a far better position to be in than some of our near neighbours.”

Plans for a shared-management service with neighbouring Preston Council were being discussed, but both councils have now decided not to proceed with that arrangement.

However, negotiations are still taking place about the prospect of sharing other services with both Preston Council and Lancashire County Council.

Coun Eaves said: “The original idea of a shared management team is now not going to take place.

“After the elections, both Preston and Fylde have reviewed their position and taken a joint decision not to move forward with the joint team.

“But the opportunity for possible partnerships in services is very much a matter we will pursue.”

The council is keen to save cash to ensure it is prepared for future budget cuts.

And finance chief Coun Karen Buckley added: “We’ve reduced our ‘back office’ costs by 25 per cent in the last three years and used those savings to implement a council tax freeze.

“We’ve looked at every single item of council spending and have saved an extra £600,000 in the last year. It means the finances are now robust and stable – but we have to constantly search for value for money if we are to avoid problems in the future.”