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Grim Christmas Present For Sacked Council Staff

December 15, 2000 15:15: COUNCIL bosses are preparing to issue 50 redundancy notices to staff just days before Christmas.

Haringey Council says the redundancies are needed to help cut £11m from its budgets by 2003.

A Policy and Strategy Committee meeting will ratify the decision before the notices are sent out.

Workers from any of the council's departments could receive redundancy notices as officers are reviewing budgets to determine what cuts should be made from departments.

Council leader George Meehan admitted the timing was unfortunate.

He said: "We don't know where exactly the cuts will be made and it might be that fewer than 50 people are made redundant; in past years that has sometimes turned out to be the case.

"It is unfortunate that the redundancy notices go out at this time of year."

The council is legally compelled to give 90 days notice to staff before making them redundant and the new budget must be set by April 1 next year.

Public sector union UNISON's convenor Glynn Rowlands said: "The timing is outrageous. It is awful to send out redundancy notices at this time.

"We have held a lot of discussions with the council and told them that they need to do more planning so we can avoid this redundancy process which has happened before at this time of year.

"The council needs to examine how it is spending its money. It employs a lot of agency staff, which is very expensive.

"It is very demoralising for all council staff when their colleagues are being made redundant. We will be urging the council to think again before it goes ahead with this.

"This has happened before and unfortunately the council seems to have got itself in a cycle where it makes people redundant in late December."

The council says it wants to make cuts of £1.1 million next year, £4 million in 2002 and around £5 million in 2003. The cuts are partly being made so it can stop council tax rises, it says.

However, the council says it expects to receive some extra money from the government for education and also for poor Haringey neighbourhoods as part of the New Deal for Communities programme.

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