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Colleagues will now have seen the statement released by Shropshire Council regarding their intention to instigate a voluntary redundancy programme.

Our understanding of these proposals is that The Council are looking to lose up to 50% of the workforce - across all areas - in the next 4 years with the intention of making as many of these losses happen as quickly as possible. The rationale for this course of action is that they have to save £80 Million pounds in the next four years.

Shropshire UNISON is clearly opposed to any job losses and the subsequent effect that this will inevitably have upon the services we all deliver  every day to the people of Shropshire. If these proposals are carried out in full there can be no doubt that some services will suffer devastating consequences and some will disappear for ever. Our move towards becoming a commissioning council is going to change the landscape of local government in Shropshire for ever.

Clearly we are living in extremely difficult financial times with Central Government deliberately targeting public services as a cornerstone of their ambition to dismantle a state system that they hate so much. We, as a union, both locally and nationally must do all we can to oppose such actions and seek at all times to preserve and protect as much of our services as we possibly can.

With this in mind Branch Officers will be working hard with the council decision makers in the coming months to mitigate these proposals in every way we can. We will ensure that any member needing our full support and guidance will receive it. There will of course be members who will find the proposals attractive and who decide that they would wish to take up an offer of redundancy, if so then they must make sure that they receive the best possible advice before making any final decisions and they should contact the branch at the earliest opportunity.

Please contact the branch at any time should you require advice and information on the matter. It is my intention to instruct our work place stewards to hold members meetings in the coming weeks and we shall also consider holding mass member meetings around the county should the need arise and when we have all the details and facts of the proposals to hand.

Difficult times lie ahead, we must remain united, stick together and show the very solidarity that the trades union movement was built upon. We must all of us seek to recruit colleagues to the union to build our membership, which In turn increases our voice and strengthens our ability to influence the decision making of our employers.

Thank you all for your continued support.

Alan James - Branch Secretary