70 jobs under threat at Hull City Council-owned KWL
AROUND 70 jobs are under threat at a city council-owned building firm.
The move by KWL is the biggest mass redundancy at the company since it was launched just over five years ago.
The redundancy programme threatens the jobs of just over one-sixth of the company's workforce.
The economic downturn and expected funding cuts to Hull City Council budgets have been blamed for the decision. In a letter to staff, KWL's head of business Kevin Redmore said: "I have today met with the full-time and local trade union representatives and informed them that the company may have to make up to 70 redundancies across the business as a consequence of the economic downturn and projected reduction in budgets and workload from Hull City Council for 2012-13.
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"I appreciate this will give all of you some concerns and uncertainty at this time."
The Kingswood-based company is the council's sole contractor for the repair and maintenance of the authority's 29,000 council homes.
The council also recently confirmed plans to transfer its street lighting and vehicle fleet management of KWL as part of a cost-cutting drive at the Guildhall.
Company bosses say they hope some of the job losses will be achieved through voluntary redundancy.
The firm said the continuing problems hitting the UK construction industry had also been a factor in the decision to start the redundancy process.
A spokesman said: "It is with regret that we are announcing a series of redundancies at KWL.
"The above process is a consequence of the economic downturn and the projected reduction in local authority capital spending for 2012-13 and beyond and the continuing depressed state of the construction industry generally.
"Regrettably, KWL is not immune to the effects of the economic downturn affecting the industry.
"The proposed redundancies are likely to affect up to 70 employees out of our current workforce of around 452.
"All employees made redundant will be given every assistance to find alternative employment by an external post-employment advisor."
The company, which has its head office and depot in Connaught Road, Kingswood, admitted the redundancies would be another blow to the city's economy.
"As an employer committed to a policy of offering employment from the Hull and East Yorkshire region, it is inevitable that these redundancies will have a greater impact on the local economy.
"We are keeping our staff fully informed of all developments and will be offering voluntary redundancies across the workforce in an effort to avoid compulsory redundancies wherever possible.
"Ongoing consultations with the relevant trade unions are planned over the coming weeks."
The company is wholly-owned by the council, having originally been formed from its works department.