UNION members working for Dorset councils are being invited to meetings in the coming week to discuss proposals which could lead to more than 100 losing their jobs – with more job losses to come.

Regional organiser for Unison Janine Miller says while members knew job losses would result from local council reorganisation, they have been shocked by the scope of those included in the first phase.

She says that 212 people at local councils have been sent notices that their posts are being considered for possible redundancy – many of them managers, but also including lower grades, including at least one apprentice.

Dorset Council says that every effort will be made to find those sent the notices new positions but also acknowledges that many staff might want to take the opportunity of voluntary redundancy or early retirement.

Unison says that the new council, in this phase, only has 95 posts for the 212 sent notice that their current position is at risk, and while a handful of specialist posts might be guaranteed positions it will still leave over 100 facing the risk of eventual redundancy.

The consultation about the proposals will continue until the first week in March with no forced redundancies possible until after the new council comes into being on April 1.

If the situation does come to enforced job losses many of those in affected posts will be entitled to three months notice with lower grades a month. The earliest possible date for enforced redundancies is expected to be early May or the end of June, depending on the post and terms of contract.

The first of the meetings for union members were held this week (w/c Jan 28).

“We have had people going to all of those offices to talk to our members and offer what support and advise we can. We understand that many council staff are feeling isolated at the moment,” said Unison's Janine Miller.