Sacked council press officers vote for strike action

Haringey Council has made most of its press office redundant, leading to the possibility of the NUJ’s first strike in press and PR, writes Dominic Ponsford.

The move follows a review which found the seven press officer posts should be cut to four. Staff were invited to apply for the new positions but most refused, with the result that five have been made redundant.

Six are NUJ members and this week they voted by five to one in favour of strike action. Although they have been made redundant, they said they may exercise their right to picket the council offices.

The affected staff found themselves locked out of their offices last week as redundancy notices were dispatched by motorcycle courier.

NUJ general secretary Jeremy Dear said: “I’ve heard of private companies throwing sacked staff off the premises, but this is a local authority and a Labour-controlled one at that. Haringey Council has completely reneged on its responsibilities to its staff and it is a disgrace that any employer, let alone a council, should treat its employees in such a shameful way.”

A council spokesman said restructuring was carried out in line with council personnel procedures.

The council said two staff applied for one of the four new senior communications officer posts but only one was successful. The spokesman said: “Those who did not attend their interviews did this knowing that they would be making themselves automatically redundant under the council’s procedures.

“These members of staff have been issued with their notices of termination of employment and the council will make every effort to find suitable alternative employment for them during the notice period.

“One member of staff who did attend her interview has been offered and accepted one of the new posts.”

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