Over 200 jobs are at risk in a massive reorganisation of a major Commissioning Support Unit that delivers services for CCGs in parts of London, surrounding areas and eastern England.

Staff at NEL CSU fear that the first redundancy notices could be issued in early August as unemployment totals rise and the economy reels from the impact of Covid-19 and the 3 months of lockdown

Management plans to cut its 1,500 workforce were first floated back in December, with up to 200 job losses announced in March – but then held back because of the Covid pandemic – have been accelerated since the beginning of July.

In a complex rejigging of services, 194 NEL CSU staff are set to be displaced and at threat of redundancy, while 180 staff will have to compete for 106 posts, with management arguing that many of these might be considered for 240 new and vacant posts.

However the unions argue this is unlikely to work for many redundant staff, and are bracing for significant job losses.

Not agreed

The proposals have not been agreed by staff side unions, who are angry at finding out about the plans to proceed only by accident, and the management setting a pace which leaves insufficient time for the unions to consult their members.

With large numbers of staff having been redeployed to assist with coronavirus work, having had little contact with colleagues during that time, and CSU staff having worked long and hard in the effort to contain and combat the virus, there is anger at the efforts to speed through job losses at a time when jobs will be extremely hard to find.

Unions are also cheesed off that jobs are being axed by NEL CSU to save money while at the same time the organisation has been shelling out £2m a year to a company known as TET Limited for interim senior staff, including £242,000 a year for a director.

The unions, confronted with the need to resist an ideologically-driven proposal and the seemingly endless austerity regime in the NHS, are limited in campaigning options to defend staff with working in back-office services a low public profile.

They are pressing CSU bosses to offer a targeted voluntary redundancy scheme to minimise numbers of compulsory redundancies, and to engage with local trusts, the clearing house in London and other relevant organisations to seek out potential vacancies for at risk staff, the majority of whom are in roles such as procurement, finance, risk management and data analysis.

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John Lister
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