Bad Day At Black Rock ( Ferry) and Beyond :(

Hello Leakers

We have just had sight of the “Jobs At Risk Letters” sent by Wirral s Chief X-ecutioner . It does not bode well or the long suffering staff or indeed the people of Wirral

Eldritch our (very) common gardener had previously furnished us with a copy of a letter he claimed was the original draft! It certainly read like the truth, sans the PR spit and polish. However we were slightly suspicious that he appeared to be covered in printer ink kept guffawing over matters that are no laughing matter as Lady WL read the missive out.  We suspect it may be a fake, however ….

Il Comandante

“Lubyanka Lounge”

Brighton Street

Dear ‘Worker’,

As you will be aware, since l have been Chief Executive (a whole 2 months now), l have communicated regularly with all employees about the Council’s financial position.  We are facing a considerable financial challenge.

 The current position is that the Council is facing a budget shortfall of £103m over the nextthree years and a projected shortfall of £39M for 2013/14.  This will necessitate significant changes to the manner in which the Council conducts its business.  And let’s face it guys, this IS a business, not a ‘service’, by any stretch of the imagination.  It’s a business, with business needs

and there are some tough calls to make.

 ln response to the Council’s financial situation and the Public Consultation that we have undertaken, responded to by 18% of the local public, we have published a range of officer budget options.  The remaining 82% had their chance and blew it.  They can go and whistle.

 Within these budget options there are two options which directly impact on the number of jobs:

1.      Significantly reduce the running costs of the Council by reducing the number of staff.

I’ve seen you, walking around, armed with a sheet of A4, pretending to look ‘busy’.  Well the game’s up comrades.  I’m on to you.

2.      Stop, reduce or change out of all recognition services that the Council currently delivers to ‘the public’.  We’re a high-flying concern goddamit – with ideas.  Who in his right mind decided we had to bring these people onboard?  They’re sooooo last century – and a bar to innovation.  An obstacle to progress.  How the hell do we get quoted on the Stock Exchange with this dead weight hanging around our necks?

 Chief Officers, Heads of Service and other Senior Managers have in the past few days tried to round up as many people as possible to inform them about the proposals and advise them how it affects them.

As you are a line manager and/or work in a service for which reductions have been proposed,I must inform you that unfortunately, your post is one of those ‘for the chopping block’.

 An employee is ‘for the chopping block’ if, following a determination that redundancies need to be made, they are in the pool of staff whose post could be made redundant.

 The Council will now begin its consultation process.  The purpose of consultation is to explore ways of avoiding or reducing the number of redundancies.  It is an opportunity for you to make any suggestions or proposals as to how redundancies could be avoided or minimised,as well as raising any other concerns or questions – I’ve dubbed this ‘pissing in the wind’.  Additionally, consultation is an important way for the Council to highlight your needs, before offering any support or assistance that may be required i.e. a firm boot up the backside, to help you on your way.

 No decisions have as yet been taken and will not be made until consultation has concluded.

For these purposes the organisation will be consulting with the recognised trade unions about ways of avoiding or reducing the need for redundancies and about the criteria on which any selection for redundancy will be based.  Sadly, if you’re a member of a union which does not meet the strict criteria (golf handicap of 10 and below) you’ll be out before you know it.  lf redundancies are necessary, (ha ha – did I say ‘If’?) the Council will use selection criteria to determine who, from those at risk of redundancy, will be provisionally selected for redundancy.

This will be done on the basis of objective and quantifiable criteria that will be the subject of consultation with Joe (no, not Stalin – Taylor).  The criteria will be reasonably, fairly and consistently applied.  You as well as your Trade Union representatives will have the opportunity to comment on the proposed  criteria, and the score which you are awarded – see, you even get awarded a score.  We’ll even give you a piece of paper promising share options for when we get listed on the Footsie  – in return for the employment rights you’ve had savaged.  Who said this process didn’t have some positive benefits?  🙂

As the Council is proposing to make more than 100 ‘workers’ redundant, in accordance with relevant legislation, consultation will last for a minimum period of 90 days.

 We are not seeking volunteers at this stage and we are not able to provide details of redundancy or pension estimates as we are currently consulting on ‘changes to the redundancy scheme’ with Trade Unions – Ha haaaaa – least said about this the better…

 During the period of consultation, as well as consulting with Trade Unions, we will hold group and individual consultation meetings to discuss the issues outlined in this letter, and any other concerns that you may have.  Please don’t attend these ‘wired for sound’ – the scanners will pick it up, and ‘security consultants’ will cart you off out the door and issue you a P45 in the process.

 l appreciate that this is an upsetting and difficult time for everyone but l regret that given the scale of the financial challenge the Local Authority has little option but to push on regardless.

 If you have any questions or concerns, we have published guidance in the form of Frequently Fudged Questions on the Intranet. We have also put in place a dedicated HR ‘Support’ Team

which can be contacted on 0151 LOL 2222 or by e-mailing  harseupgort@wirral.gov.uk. The

helpline will be open Monday to Friday from 08.45-17.00hrs.

Trade Union members may wish to contact their Union for advice.  If they’re busy, ring HR.  Same difference.  All employees can also contact the Employee Assistance Programme (EAP).  This is a free, independent and confidential service available to employees and their family household members, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.  You will be able to talk in confidence to a qualified adviser and the services include financial and legal advice as well as access to counselling.

If they’re busy, ring the Union, HR, or the Samaritans.  Same difference again. 😉

 Unless otherwise occupied (Golf, Town Hall bonding sessions) Unions will provide details of every aspect of this stitch-up as we work through it.

Yours sincerely,

Il Comandante

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