UNISON says ‘NO!’ to more big-money pay-offs at Hambleton

We have written to all councillors at Hambleton District Council to demand that they reject proposals that would see a further £770,000 paid out in unnecessary enhanced redundancy packages to senior staff.

Proposals to be voted on by Hambleton District Council tomorrow come on top of councillors having already voted to hand around £225,000 to its Chief Executive in advance of the council being abolished on 1 April 2023.

Wendy Nichols, our Branch Secretary said: “Our had working members who deliver brilliant public services for the residents of Hambleton were already shocked at councillors handing nearly a quarter of a million pounds to the Chief Executive, they are disgusted at the suggestion that unnecessary deals are now being offered to even more senior staff.

“As a trade union we are passionate about all staff being treated fairly, and that public funds should be spent wisely. We know that the upcoming reorganisation of local government in North Yorkshire is unsettling for many council staff, but the law provides protections for staff including those on senior grades.

“We have been told throughout the consultations that all staff will transfer to the new Council and that there will be a job for everyone. Furthermore, the law is clear, and the Council’s own advisor has confirmed our view that the law provides for all HDC staff to transfer to the new North Yorkshire Council on their current pay, terms and conditions.

“Local councils are facing a funding crisis following a decade of austerity cuts. We know that HDC does not have the funds available to make these discretionary payments, as their own advisor has confirmed that the reserves set aside for local government reorganisation are just £174,000. The shortfall of circa £600,000 will come from the Council’s general reserves, which are funds that the Council holds in trust for the residents of Hambleton to deal with unforeseen challenges.

“Added to the £225,000 already promised to the Chief Executive, this means over £1million of public money is being spent by HDC on enhanced settlement packages for its senior staff despite them all being entitled to transfer to the new Council.

“The leadership at Hambleton District Council seems to think that the reserves exist as a slush fund for senior staff.

“This can never be acceptable, and certainly not at a time of further austerity and a cost-of-living crisis. Imagine what the Council could be spending this money on, instead on making unnecessary exit payments to senior staff.

“I hope that Hambleton councillors will see sense and vote down these proposals tomorrow. If they do not, I fear that senior staff across the other North Yorkshire councils will be emboldened to press for exit payments.”