A union boss fears changes to voluntary redundancy pay at Perth and Kinross Council will lead to compulsory job losses.
A new policy for voluntary redundancy will see pay per year of service halved – but all staff will get £6,000 on top of their new figure.
But Unison believes the changes will see fewer people apply for voluntary redundancy, as most will receive a smaller pay-out, leading to compulsory job losses.
Compulsory redundancy pay has not changed.
Redundancy change ‘reduction in workers rights’
Stuart Hope, Unison Perth and Kinross branch secretary, said: “These changes in redundancy payments by Perth and Kinross Council are counter-productive.
“They are a reduction in workers’ rights and council workers are less likely to go voluntarily, which raises the chances of there being compulsory redundancies throughout the council, costing the council more in the long run.”
Mr Hope called the £6,000 flat rate a “gimmick” and claimed it was originally supposed to be £3,000 but was increased after union intervention.
He also called for any job losses when the council sets its next budget to be done with “proper and meaningful dialogue”.
He added: “Local government has suffered years of cuts and it’s very stressful on staff who just want to provide the best local services they can.
“Some of the saving will have to be made from a reduction in staff numbers so its extremely important they have proper and meaningful dialogue with us to ensure that is done fairly.
“Many of our members are seriously considering leaving the council but this needs to be done through consultation to ensure it’s fair for both council staff and council tax payers.”
What are the changes?
The new policy, agreed by the finance committee last week, will see voluntary redundancy rates, which vary depending on age, halved.
It means someone earning the Scottish average salary – £26,500 – could lose £9,000 if they have worked for the council for 20 years and cannot access their local government pension.
A higher earner, on a £60,000 salary, could lose up to £28,615.
Some low earners, with a short length of service, will be better off.
The maximum payment has also been reduced from 60 weeks’ pay to 30.
At the meeting last week, council leader Grant Laing said the council “can no longer afford to do business the same way.”
He added: “We will always look to avoid redundancies wherever possible but are revising the terms we offer to staff who take voluntary redundancy.”
A council spokesperson said its policy, known as the “framework for managing workforce changes” is regularly reviewed.
They added: “The framework continues to promote fair, consistent and equitable treatment of our employees and was approved by the Finance and Resources Committee on February 1.”