Prentis: redundancy cap will hit hundreds of thousands

General secretary warns that proposed cap for public sector workers will affect more than high earners

“The government’s proposed public-sector redundancy cap will affect hundreds of thousands of workers providing vital public services”, UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis warned today.

He was speaking after the government launched a consultation on Treasury proposals for a law to cap at at £95,000 the amount paid to public-sector employees who are made redundant.

The consultation document speaks of “highly-paid public sector workers” receiving “huge taxpayer-funded payouts,” but UNISON points out that the cap will cover all payments to those who jobs are cut, including any early-retirement package.

“Make no mistake, these proposals are not aimed at high earners,” said Mr Prentis. “They will hit many long-serving, loyal staff on mid-range salaries, such as nurses, social workers, and police support staff.

“Potentially hundreds of thousands of public service workers are facing redundancy as a result of spending cuts announced by this chancellor.

He also warned that the proposal would “tear up hard-won collective agreements negotiated directly with employers and government departments.

“Existing redundancy arrangements, when used as part of agreed redundancy mitigation procedures, allow organisations to reduce their workforce while maintaining services and the morale of the existing workers,” added Mr Prentis.

“Conservative estimates suggest another 200,000 jobs will be cut as a direct result of austerity in the public sector,” he pointed out.

“Setting arbitrary caps on redundancy payments will only make achieving this harder and more painful for both the employer and the employees.”

The proposal is part of the Enterprise Bill currently before Parliament and UNISON will be lobbying MPs on the issue.