Equal pay shake-up leads to 80 job losses in Birmingham

Under-fire Birmingham City Council will axe up to 80 HR jobs and cut the pay of others in the department, its people chief has admitted.

Andy Albon, HR director at the council, told Personnel Today the cuts would come as the local authority adapted to the pay restructuring process designed to eliminate equal pay claims.

The shake-up will lead to the loss of between 60 to 80 HR staff over the next two years, he confirmed.

“We will deal with this process through job re-design and a business transformation programme. We want to use technology to answer first-line HR enquiries and bring transactional work under a single management,” Albon said.

“We are putting in a training programme to upskill the HR team and suck up any losses. Several councils are moving this way organisationally, but we are being more radical than many.”

More than half of council staff – 10,000 people – have already accepted the new pay deal, to be introduced on 1 April. This included about 3,000 ‘red circled’ staff who will suffer a salary cut as a result of the new arrangements. The highest ratio will occur in the HR department, affecting two-thirds of the 350-strong function.

The council has sent out reminder letters to 9,000 staff who have rejected or not replied to new terms and conditions on equal pay.

In the letter, Albon said: “The council sincerely hopes you will accept as we do not want to lose your services. If you choose not to accept the offer and do not attend work, then you will no longer be considered an employee of Birmingham City Council.”

Unions have opposed the pay and grading system, and plan to hold a second one-day strike today (26 February). Unions have also accused the council of trying to scare its workers into signing the new deals – a point which Albon denied.

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