Councils facing legal challenge on redundancies

by Rachel Crook

Councils may face legal action because they have failed to take proper steps when terminating workers' employment contracts.

According to a freedom of information request made by Unison, three-quarters of local authorities did not follow employment law advice on equality when shedding staff.

The public sector union reveals that 72 per cent of councils did not complete equality impact assessments (EIAs) when they issued their initial proposals to cut jobs.

In addition, 78 per cent failed to fill in EIAs for their final redundancy plans.

Local authorities must, under public sector rules, carry out these assessments in order to give due regard to equality when taking major decisions.

Heather Wakefield, Unison's head of local government, said: "Women, ethnic minorities and people with disabilities are well represented in the local government workforce, so there's a real chance that heavy job losses will fall disproportionately onto these groups."

She added that this could result in "costly and time-consuming" legal battles.

It comes as the TUC warns there could be a "crisis" in female unemployment because of government cuts.

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Published on: March 10, 2011

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