"We've been sold down the river" say Mouchel staff as restructuring puts jobs at risk (From Bournemouth Echo)
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"We've been sold down the river" say Mouchel staff as restructuring puts jobs at risk
FORMER Bournemouth council staff who were outsourced to a private company and are now at risk of redundancy claim they have been “sold down the river.”
Mouchel Business Services, which took control of four council departments in December 2010, has told staff it intends to restructure and warned them that jobs could go.
Eleven staff, thought to be mainly in the revenues and benefits departments, are at risk, with Mouchel keen to create new multi-skilled roles.
Meetings were held with Bournemouth staff last week and discussions have been held with union representatives.
But one concerned employee said: “Staff feel as though the council has sold them down the river. All staff are very worried and are questioning why Mouchel need to do this when they have been guaranteed £150million over 10 years.
“They are also saying that the system has delivered for years without any problems with the council so why try to change a proven track record?”
And David Higgins, Bournemouth Unison branch secretary, said he was concerned Mouchel was not fulfilling its obligation to formally consult the unions.
He said: “Although they have met us they have not involved us in the process and that is concerning as we believe they could be looking at making significant cuts to staffing levels.
“When these departments came under Bournemouth council the staff had union recognition and this should have transferred across with staff. I can’t see how they can get out of that.”
In a statement, Mouchel said: “'Mouchel Business Services commenced collective consultation with elected employee representatives on 17th September. As part of this we have consulted on proposed changes to our Revenues and Benefits operating model which would result in multi-skilled roles which would provide greater flexibility to meet fluctuations in demand, improved resident and client outcomes and career development for our employees.
“Discussions continue with our employees, their elected representatives and local Trade Union representatives. We do not know the outcome of this process yet and whether this will result in any redundancies in our Bournemouth contract although we would hope that through a combination of new roles and redeployment this can be avoided.”
Richard Saunders, director of strategic services at Bournemouth council, said: “We understand that 11 out of 405 Mouchel staff delivering Council services in Bournemouth are currently at risk. We fully expect that most, if not all of these staff, will be offered new roles or redeployed and therefore redundancies will be kept to a minimum.
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