HR news round-up: HR stories making the headlines 24 September 2010

A round-up of HR stories in today’s newspapers.

A county council has agreed to slash its £1.1 billion budget by 30% by outsourcing almost all its services.

The decision by Suffolk County Council could be seen as a model for other councils to follow, reports the BBC. Under the New Strategic Direction, almost all council services will be offloaded to social enterprises or companies over the next few years. Unions have warned that the plan puts a huge number of the council’s 27,000 jobs at risk.

The aim is to turn the authority from one that provides public services itself, to an enabling council that commissions another to carry out the services. It could eventually see the council’s workforce slimmed down to just a few hundred people who would manage the contracts.

The future of a number of employment- and training-related quangos has been thrown into doubt, according to the Daily Telegraph. The newspaper has listed the 177 quangos due to be abolished – including bodies such as the Union Modernisation Advisory Fund –  and said an additional 94 remained under threat of being scrapped in the future, including the Equality and Human Rights Commission. However, the leaked list suggests that conciliation service Acas will escape the axe.

Tube staff will strike again next Sunday in an ongoing dispute over plans to axe 800 jobs and to close a number of ticket offices, London Underground’s two biggest unions confirmed yesterday.

The strike, beginning on 3 October, will be the second in a series of 24-hour strikes scheduled to take place this year, and tube unions have warned that the scale of industrial action will be “ramped up”, Citywire reports. As of Sunday, union members will refuse to participate in LondonUnderground’s “£5 minimum Oyster top-up”, which prevents people from topping up their tube travel card by less than £5 at ticket offices. Unions claim it is an attack on poorer people and a threat to ticket office jobs. They will also refuse to carry out higher grade work in a station control room or take on the role of station supervisor.

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