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Union anger over jobs threat

Union anger over jobs threat

Francis Batt

Union anger over jobs threat

A union organiser is calling on people to fight Royal Borough plans to cut staff in Sure Start Children's Centres.

The borough has nine of these centres which provide services for children under five and their parents.

But it has warned that some redundancies are inevitable.

GMB union organiser Frank Minal attended two out of three consultation meetings with Sure Start staff two weeks ago and says that the Royal Borough plans to cut 12 staff.

He said: "These proposals are shocking. Cutting back will impact on families who need practical support from well trained staff in the Sure Start centres.

"GMB and staff will resist these madcap proposals and are considering protests in the locality."

But the council's cabinet member for children Cllr Eileen Quick has hit back, accusing Mr Minal of 'spreading misinformation'.

She said that although 20 staff were summoned to consultation meetings and told their jobs were at risk, the number of redundancies would be much lower than 12.

She said: "I can only assume Mr Minal has done some arithmetic based on the amount of money we want to save and current staff numbers.

She said: "It is very mischievous of him to put these incorrect figures out without getting them confirmed. It is the sort of misinformation that is upsetting to local parents."

She said that efforts would be made to find different jobs in children's services for people who were made redundant and that money saved would all go to to other services affecting under five-year-olds.

News that the nine Sure Start centres are all staying open has caused great relief to parents across the borough. But staff must wait for the end of a 30 day consultation period ending in two weeks to learn which jobs are to go.

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