Stop West Berkshire Council Redundancies

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On February 11th 2021, West Berkshire Council will move to make three members of staff redundant. This move comes in the midst of a pandemic, with limited opportunities for those affected to find new work, with unemployment nationally expected to hit 7.5%, and with central government expending great efforts to prevent private sector companies from laying-off workers.

Those selected for redundancy have no performance or disciplinary issues. There is no budgetary requirement to make the cuts. The staff have been diligent, dedicated and skilled employees, with some 50 years' collective experience.  

The rationale for the move appears wafer-thin, intended as part of a flawed reorganisation plan that will not save Council Tax payers any money - in fact it proposes injecting funding into non-statutory posts such as communications, intended to better promote the council, whilst failing to address other meaningful  issues that affect residents and stakeholders directly.

Among the affected are staff whose job it is to make information and data available to the public. This is particularly contentious and invites serious concern when council projects such as the London Road Industrial Estate and football ground have invited fervent  local criticism - and wasted £1.8million along the way.

The council's usual process for undertaking reorganisations has been skipped or partially ignored, citing the pandemic, whilst the same pandemic is not considered an obstacle to firing staff - something that is supposed to be bound by procedure as a "last resort". 

Staff have not been offered retraining. 

We believe this is a badly thought-out and baseless action and we ask for your support in asking the council to reconsider this move. The Council's Leader, Lynne Doherty (Newbury Speen) wrote only a month ago in the Newbury Weekly News to thank staff for their efforts and to assert that the authority was being run by "Caring, Compassionate Conservatives". 

We call upon her to demonstrate her gratitude and give some credence to this claim.

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