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CITB announces plan to axe 110 jobs

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A construction body with long-running links to West Norfolk has today announced plans to cut more than 100 jobs in an effort to save millions of pounds in costs.

The announcement by the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) comes just two weeks after union leaders warned staff were facing a "triple whammy" of cuts to staff numbers, pay and working conditions .

But CITB bosses insist the move is necessary to protect frontline services to the industry.

The CITB has announced plans for further job cuts.
The CITB has announced plans for further job cuts.

The board is proposing to cut 110 roles by the end of the year, in a move that it claims will save around £4.5 million a year. It has not said where the cuts will occur.

The move comes on top of the reforms included in its Vision 2020 plan, which saw an agreement for the sale of the National Construction College at Bircham Newton agreed earlier this year.

Officials say a formal consultation process has begun with both trade unions and employee representatives.

And they insist the measures are necessary to help mitigate the loss of industry levy income, which they claim will amount to more than £240 million over the next three years.

Chief executive Sarah Beale said today: “CITB started the year with an agreed business plan and budget, but the impact of COVID-19 has been severe.

"Our response – advancing apprenticeship grants and cutting Levy bills – was critical to support construction employers during the crisis.

"But the combination of less industry activity and lower Levy rates has reduced our forecast income over this three year period. We have to cut back our back-office and management costs to maintain a constant focus on giving construction employers the direct support that they need."

Earlier this month, the Unite union, which represents many CITB staff, claimed the organisation's "reputation as a decent employer" was at risk because of its plans to review its operations.

In a statement, the union said the announcement was "a further bitter blow for the dedicated workers at the CITB."

It added: "Unite do not believe that these redundancies are justified and are entirely opposed to the proposals to cut redundancy pay.

"The union will be seeking urgent meetings to fully understand the CITB proposals and urges the organisation to reconsider making such huge cuts, which are likely to result in huge amounts of skills and knowledge being lost from the organisation."

But Ms Beale said: “It is deeply distressing to have to propose losing so many valued and committed colleagues.

"Everyone in the CITB team has really impressed me with their incredible efforts in helping the industry adapt to our changed situation and in delivering outstanding work to our customers.

"I would much rather not be in this position, but our duty is to support and be accountable to the construction industry and that is where we must focus.”

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