PLANS to keep down the redundancy costs of the shake-up of local government have been thrown off-course by a Local Government Staff Commission recommendation that is 30 per cent higher than ministers want to pay.
Confrontation is also looming with the TUC and local government unions, which are seeking an even more generous package because of the likelihood of long-term unemployment for former public service workers.
Many thousands of jobs could go under the plans to re- organise the two-tier system in English counties into slimmer unitary authorities.
The Local Government Staff Commission (England) is pressing Tony Baldry, junior environment minister, for an upper lump sum limit of 82 weeks' pay. Ministers are known to favour a 66-week maximum.
The commission, set up to advise the Government on staff affected by reorganisation, has told ministers that because employees in the 45-50 age group would not have access to pensions, the maximum payment should reflect the 30-week limit under redundancy legislation plus a year's pay.
The TUC and local government unions want a 104-week minimum that acknowledges that many of those who lose public services jobs are likely to remain without work for long periods. They have highlighted the much more generous civil service maximum payment of 156 weeks.
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