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Rhondda Cynon Taf redundancy packages 'too generous'

November 18, 2010 12:00 PM

Welsh Liberal Democrats have uncovered figures which show an alarming lack of scrutiny with regard to the spending of taxpayers' money.

Figures reveal that Rhondda Cynon Taff council has spent more than £9m on voluntary redundancy packages for 274 people over the past three years.

Workers have not only been given their rightful redundancy payments, and had their pensions payments made up, but have been awarded in some cases substantial sums of money as 'compensatory payments'

Welsh Liberal Democrat Assembly candidate for Pontypridd Councillor Mike Powell said

"This year alone RCT have paid out £2,936,400 in "compensatory payments" - or, as some would say, golden handshakes.

These payments are not compulsory. They are in addition to any redundancy payments the employee is entitled to, and an additional cost over and above what was paid to top up their pensions and give them early entitlement.

I have spoken with colleagues in Swansea and Wrexham Councils who assure me that they pay them out rarely. RCT seem to have been handing them out like free lollies in Little Chef.

We would not deny anyone a fair settlement but this is public money. The people who lost their jobs in Bosch or Burberry or any of the other industries to have gone under during the Labour Government watch did not have the benefit of a few extra thousand pounds to help them along.

Why should public service workers many of whom were middle managers on a sizable wage and pension be handed these bonuses, especially at a time when RCT are aiming to hit the lowest paid front line workers with their review of terms and conditions."

The payments are authorised by a panel consisting of Labour and Plaid Cymru Councillors, but a look at the minutes, freely available on the Council website, shows that meetings of this panel lasted between two and five minutes.

Councillor Powell added

"This is a disgraceful use of taxpayers' money. And for the Labour and Plaid Councillors involved to fail to question it at all but to nod it through in meetings lasting between two and five minutes is appalling."