One of the things that the government’s communication agency, the Central Office of Information (COI) is planning on doing recently is to terminate employment for 40% of its staff. This is in view of the clampdown on public spending. If this plan comes into fruition, more than 250 people will be losing their jobs in the distribution of government publicity, communications and information.
As the first step of the plan being enforced, a voluntary redundancy process will be employed. However, if this does not turn out the needed numbers, members of staff will be facing a compulsory layoff strategy. In addition to this threat of losing a source of income, it has been indicated by the Cabinet Office that the COI has to cap redundancy payments they give at 15 month’s pay. This is partly due to the terms that will soon be introduced in the bill by the government on compensation scheme.
As of yesterday, a consultation with staff has started and this will run for 90 days going through to November. This news has stirred up anger and resentment in many employees and on the side of the Civil Service, union Prospect negotiator, Julie Flanagan said that the organization was disappointed to hear that almost two fifths of the COI staff will be losing their jobs. This forced retirement will be affecting all COI employees in the capital as well as the major cities of UK.
Also, the union Prospect negotiator attacked the cap that the Cabinet Office put on redundancy payments stating that it’s only a way for ministers to get rid of employees at less cost. She also mentioned that the union was trying to get meetings set up with ministers in order to raise the issue.
On the side of the Cabinet Office, minister Francis Maude said that these are tough decisions with difficult consequences but it is most vital to keep the government efficient.