INTERSERVE workers in Liverpool are meeting today (Thursday) to decide whether to take industrial action after 63 of them were told they faced redundancy.
Last Friday evening 38 workers were served with notices that they face compulsory redundancy. A further 25 staff had agreed to take voluntary redundancy.
Those facing redundancy had worked for the firm on a sevenyear deal with Liverpool City Council to repair and maintain 33,000 council houses. Up to 600 employees transferred over to Interserve from the council's own in-house direct labour organisation when the project was awarded in April 2000.
In the first two years the project turned a profit for Interserve but last year it recorded a loss.
Interserve has recently struggled to meet performance targets laid down by the council and the cuts were ordered in an attempt to put the deal back on an even keel. The project has also seen four different general managers running the contract in its first three years.
At a previous mass meeting in May staff agreed to push for strike action if redundancies were ordered.
TGWU convenor Sid Fenlon said: 'Notices were sent out by private courier late on Friday.
Interserve said they can improve performance by dropping staff.
I can't understand how that can make sense.
'Our main objective is to protect the jobs and the service provided. There have been 120 applications for voluntary redundancy but Interserve said that to make all redundancies voluntary would not be financially viable.'
Interserve senior contract manager Martin Darlington said: 'The nature of the work in partnership has continued to evolve and as a result we have consulted with and taken account of the trades unions' views in order to minimise the impact on our staff.
'During months of reviews and consultation we invited voluntary redundancies and only where we have a surplus of resources in certain areas has it been necessary to include compulsory redundancies.'