Members of The Highland Council will be asked to approve a proposed scheme to make workforce reductions at the Council meeting on 15 December.
The Employee Early Release Scheme (EERS) is designed to make reductions in the council workforce in a way that is affordable and in line with the reductions in funding available for the 2017/18 budget. It is inevitable that a further significant reduction in budgets will require the Council to reduce the size of its workforce.
The Highland Council remains committed to minimising the requirement for compulsory redundancies wherever possible, and in order to achieve this, a number of measures have already been put in place including recruitment controls, reduced use of agency staff and a managed programme to reduce overtime.
All of these measures are intended to increase the pool of redeployment opportunities and to support a programme of redeployment and retraining which will be launched early in the new year.
Budget Leader, Cllr Bill Fernie said: “This scheme, together with a recruitment freeze and other measures, would allow the Council to reduce the number of staff whilst minimising the need for compulsory redundancies as much as possible. By freeing up some posts, there would be redeployment opportunities for some staff whose jobs may go under some of the budget proposals. Our current Voluntary Redundancy Scheme is not affordable within the current financial situation and this scheme may be attractive to a number of staff.
“Consultation is taking place with trade union representatives. The scheme would allow us to reduce the cost of any potential future redundancies and would help to save jobs and protect essential services.”