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‘Ageist’ claim as three jobs axed

FEARS have been raised that elderly council employees are being discriminated against after three workers were made redundant.

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FEARS have been raised that elderly council employees are being discriminated against after three workers were made redundant.

The employees - all cleaners over 65 years old - were told of the bombshell after years of service.

The news has caused outrage and concern that the axe may fall on more jobs.

Labour Opposition leader, Councillor Jean Battle, said one of the cleaners was told only on Monday that her job would end today.

She said: "This is discrimination against the elderly worker to me. The cleaners haven't just been with us for a short while, one of them has given over 17 years' service."

"The savings from their salaries won't be very much at all because they were part-time and couldn't have been paid more than £5,000. They have been very loyal workers but the Age Discrimination Act hasn't come into force yet."

"I feel sad they weren't consulted about it. Neither was the union which I believe is not happy about this. There should have been consultation."

Councillor Battle added it was "hard to swallow" that the council was spending money on Hyndburn's 30th birthday celebrations when jobs were being cut.

But council leader Peter Britcliffe said job losses were an inevitable consequence of cutting 15 per cent of services - done in the recent budget.

"We always said some tough decisions would have to be made and we took those in our budget," he said. "This is the sharp end of it. The job losses are a consequence of the cutbacks that were forced upon us."

"I would condemn the sick nature of the political game the opposition are playing. They are aware that we had to deal with the financial disaster we inherited."

David Gruby, branch chairman of the union Unison, said: "I am not in a position to discuss individual cases but this is something that Unison is very concerned about."

"We are currently in talks with the council management about this and other issues affecting our members and all council workers. We are not aware of any plans for further redundancies."

Steve Tanti, director of community services, said the redundancies were regrettable but necessary to avoid compulsory redundancies for younger staff.