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Union to fight against proposed job cuts at Balfour Beatty
10:01am Thursday 20th March 2014 in News
UNISON has said that it will fight Balfour Beatty "all the way " to try and the save the jobs of people working in Herefordshire.
The Hereford Times reported last week that 30 workers could be made redundant as part of a restructuring process taking place within the company.
The redundancies will be in the street cleansing and ground maintenance teams as Herefordshire Council's contractor look to manage a new budget.
Steve Akers, regional organiser for Unison, has confirmed that the union has been in consultation with Balfour Beatty to try and retain as many staff members as possible.
Mr Akers said that the union was told that the loss of 30 jobs would be the "worst case scenario", adding that any compulsory redundancies would be "unacceptable."
"We will fight against anyone who is made compulsory redundant and want any redundancies to be done voluntarily," he added.
Mr Akers confirmed talks with Balfour Beatty are due for tomorrow (Friday).
• Meanwhile, UNISON has reported an upsurge of interest in the county over the past year - despite some stalwarts being lost to Herefordshire Council's cuts.
At the Herefordshire branch AGM this week members heard that the fight against cuts had galvanized existing members and attracted new recruits.
The response to cuts proposed for libraries and museums was put to the AGM as a particular success.
Changes to workers' terms and conditions were also counted as a positive, with the branch lodging a dispute over changes to the council's redundancy policy.
Branch secretary David Stevens told the AGM that the cuts programme had the branch under massive pressure, with 27 consultations being launched across council, affecting over 900 staff.
That total did not include restructures across other groups like AMEY (now Balfour Beatty) and Hoople.
Future fights, he said, were ahead over cuts to the council's refuse collection contract and changes within adult and child social care where some services faced being offered out of the council due to government requirements over their funding.
The AGM heard that - to date - nearly 300 staff had left the council because of the cuts while those remaining who were not UNISON members were showing a stronger interest in becoming so.
Mr Stevens said eight new reps were trained last year - though some had since been lost to the cuts.
The branch backed a "lunchtime protest" against the government's 1% increase public sector pay offer at the council's Plough Lane offices on April 1.
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