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Antrim and Newtownabbey council defers decision on some job cuts

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Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council. Picture Google

Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council. Picture Google

Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council. Picture Google

Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council has deferred a decision on some job losses.

The council had informed all agency and short service staff on Tuesday that they were proposing to lay them off due to financial pressures caused by the Covid-19 lockdown.

In total 73 jobs were affected.

The council has deferred a decision on 46 positions. However 27 agency staff are still to be let go.

The council is considering if it can furlough staff and has asked from clarity from the Executive.

It comes as Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey urged all councils to do all they could to prevent staff losses.

In a statement the council said: “Given the minister’s statement, we will temporarily defer the council’s proposal to release 46 short service staff.

“However, until clarity is received, the council will continue to plan for the urgent action it may need to take in order to ensure that we can continue to provide essential services.

“The council will have no choice but to consider the position again in two weeks’ time should the matter not be resolved.

“Within this context, our urgent priority is to address our ongoing financial viability and the need to avoid insolvency, therefore the potential to reduce our current staffing levels remains under review.”

Sinn Fein councillor Goodman welcomed the announcement.

“However, the council must also urgently work with agencies to secure furlough status for 27 agency staff who have been released,” he said.

“Sinn Fein will request a call-in at council to thoroughly debate and to firmly reject proposals that would see staff made redundant.

“Urgent action must be taken to protect the workers and we hope that other parties will sign this call-in.

“From the beginning, Sinn Fein has expressed our concern and opposition to these proposed redundancies.

“Due to the ongoing COVID19 public health emergency, many workers and families are faced with increased economic uncertainty and pressures.

“There is an obligation on all employers to protect workers and their families.

“I will continue to work with council representatives, party group leaders in council and trade unions to have this unacceptable decision is reversed.”

Belfast Telegraph