CIVIC chiefs could be bowing down to union demands to harmonise redundancy payments ahead of a council merger next month.

Purbeck District Council are set to agree plans to harmonise redundancy payments for council staff following concerns raised by Unison that the council was paying less than the county’s other district and borough councils.

Unison said that this could have a detrimental effect on Purbeck council employees and so have asked for redundancy payments to be brought into line with the other district and borough councils as soon as possible, to provide staff with some reassurance.

Dorset’s local government reorganisation process which was approved by Communities Secretary Sajid Javid last month will see Weymouth and Portland, East Dorset, North Dorset, Purbeck and West Dorset replaced by a single unitary authority while Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch will form a second authority with the new organisation taking effect in April 2019.

Both new unitary authorities will provide all services and will seek to create ‘stronger and more accountable leadership’.

Currently, when an employee leaves the employment of Purbeck District Council on the grounds of redundancy, the council uses a statutory calculation that is based on actual weekly pay, age and length of service (up to a maximum of 20 years) in line with current legislation.

However, unlike Weymouth and Portland, West, North or East Dorset councils who apply an additional multiplier of 1.75 almost doubling the final payment the employee receives, Purbeck just use the statutory calculation meaning their final payment is significantly lower.

HR manager Christine Dewey, said: “Harmonisation of redundancy payments with the other district and borough councils affected by local government reorganisation would mean that employees of Purbeck District Council will have the same entitlements as those of its partners when they transfer to the new organisation.

“This will address the union’s concern to protect the Council’s staff from potential unfair selection at some point in the future.”

A spokesperson for Purbeck District Council, added: “At the current time, we are not anticipating any redundancies. We are proposing this change so that our staff will transfer into the new organisation with the same redundancy rights as the staff of the other district and borough councils.”

However, the council was unable to provide information on the full financial implications as each case will vary but promised that redundancy payments will increase.

The proposals will be discussed next Wednesday at Purbeck District Council’s policy board.