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WELSH SECRETARY TRIES TO REASSURE COUNCIL STAFF OVER JOB SECURITY

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Welsh Secretary John Redwood yesterday moved to reassure council staff in Wales about the future of their jobs unde...
Welsh Secretary John Redwood yesterday moved to reassure council staff in Wales about the future of their jobs under his reorganisation plans.

In a statement from the Welsh Office Mr Redwood says his Bill to reorganise Welsh councils will see the vast majority of staff transferred to the new unitary authorities in April 1996. he also confirmed the setting up of an independent staff commission to safeguard the interests of staff and to oversee the transfers.

He said: 'I want to reassure the many thousands of staff who work for Welsh councils. The vast majority will be transferred to the new unitary authorities on their existing terms and conditions. Staff who are not automatically transferred will have the change to compete for jobs. These will primarily be senior managers.

'Anyone who reads this Bill will see that the interests of staff have not been ignored. Staff who are not transferred under the Bill will be able to compete for posts in the new authorities and, where they are successful, the Bill makes sure their accrued service is transferred to the new employer.'

Mr Redwood said that he was keen to see as many opportunities as possible for staff who were not transferred to compete in this way and he would ask the Staff Commission for advice on how best this could be achieved.

The Welsh Office says that the bill also provides for compensation to be paid to staff who lose their jobs because of the reorgansiation. But Mr Redwood said he had not yet decided what the compensation package might include and he promised a further announcement soon.

Staff without a job on 1 April 1996 because of abolition of their employer will be treated as if they had been made redundant and could receive a redundancy payment, says the Welsh Office. But because these will not be statutory redundancies councils will not have to issue formal notices of redundancy.

The Bill will also prevent compensation being paid to staff on fixed term contracts if the contracts were made after 30 November 1993 and extend beyond 31 March 1996.

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