Laura Sharman 26 January 2015

Councils agree staff merger, sparking job loss fears

A union has warned that plans for two London councils to ‘merge’ could lead to ‘massive job losses’.

Wandsworth and Richmond-upon-Thames Councils have announced proposals to create a shared staffing structure, to deliver savings of up to £10m a year for both authorities.

The plans – which both councils said is not a merger of the two authorities – include a joint chief executive.

A statement to staff from chief executive of Wandsworth, Gillian Norton, said: ‘Initially the focus would be on merging staffing structures - reducing duplication, and the proportion of spending that goes on senior management. There will also be opportunities for further savings to reduce overheads, for example, getting better deals from suppliers when commissioning services.’

However, trade union GMB said the move could see more job cuts on top of the ‘heavy’ losses already seen in the two boroughs.

Paul Grafton, GMB regional officer, said: ‘GMB is very concerned that this announcement will lead to massive job losses on top of the already heavy loss of jobs that has taken place so far.

Richmond did link up with Kingston but that deal has been torn up we understand. GMB will meet with members in both boroughs to assess where we go on this.’

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