Laid-off staff see red as council takes green boss back
Reporter: ROBBIE MACDONALD
Date online: 01 October 2013
OLDHAM Council has defended hiring a former environmental services boss as a temporary consultant — after granting him voluntary redundancy amid other countryside job cuts only a few months ago.
Peter Rafferty was a former head of environmental services, from which nine countryside service workers were made redundant in the summer. Two new roles were created with different duties.
One former worker said: “Peter Rafferty had a big pay out and now a couple of months later he is back as a consultant in the same building and the same office.
“He had a big party and other members of staff got nothing. They got a cursory letter when some of them had worked there for over 20 years. It’s not fair.”
Angela Tarkenter (58) from Royton was made redundant in July after 24 years in countryside service roles, and now signs on for Jobseeker’s Allowance.
She said: “Generally speaking, if you bring in consultants, you will be paying a lot more than keeping them on as staff. It’s not the best way to go about things. Hiring consultants takes money away from people being able to keep their jobs.”
Mrs Tarkenter said the remaining staff in the department are supposed to look after the whole range of countryside services.
“The workload was a struggle before the cuts, but it’ll be quite impossible now. The public will see a difference, I’m sure,” she warned.
Asked about Mr Rafferty’s role and the wider use of consultants, Oldham Councillor Dave Hibbert, Cabinet member for environment and housing, said: “This is common practice nationally for both public sector bodies and private businesses. In this specific instance, the temporary appointment provides very good value for the council taxpayers of Oldham.”
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