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Jobs to be decimated in council cull: union

By Noel McAdam

A council cull, which will see our current 26 slashed to 11, will mean huge jobs losses, the main public sector trade union has warned.

The Northern Ireland Public Sector Alliance (Nipsa) has asked ministers to guarantee that there will be no compulsory redundancies — but this has not been given.

Nipsa official Bumper Graham (right), who represents more than 3,500 local government staff mainly at clerical, administrative and executive grades, said: “There are to be serious job losses as a result of this and we are totally opposed to that.”

His warning came as First Minister Peter Robinson and acting Deputy First Minister John O’Dowd sent a paper to SDLP minister Alex Attwood outlining their plan to forge 11 new authorities, with elections to the bigger bodies in 2014. The deal, which breaks a two-year stalemate between the DUP and Sinn Fein, is a key component of the new Programme for Government which Executive ministers are now expected to finalise in weeks.

With Stormont ministers yesterday deciding how to respond to Mr Robinson and Mr O’Dowd’s request for more “ambitious and imaginative” proposals, a leading consultancy firm urged the Executive to be “brave and bold”.

John Compton, director of PricewaterhouseCoopers, said: “With the election out of the way, ministers can afford to be bold. It is time to get ambitious and now they can make the big and the hard decisions.”

The consultants previously warned the existing Programme for Government was about to pass sell-by date, with a new one “nowhere to be seen”.

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