Gentoo staff face an anxious wait to find out how many jobs the housing firm will be forced to axe as it looks to save more than £70million from its budget over the next four years.
The Doxford International-based company has announced it needs to save £18million a year between now and 2020.
We don’t have any numbers as yet, but I imagine on the basis of the Budget, they will be significant.Tom Allison
Gentoo has already confirmed ‘a significant proportion’ of these savings will have to come from the wage bill.
But details of exactly how that is to be achieved may not become clear until October, when the firm has to submit its revised business plan to the Homes and Communities Agency.
Now union bosses are waiting to learn how many redundancies will have to be found, how many will be lost through natural wastage and what proportion will have to go through compulsory redundancy.
The Echo was contacted by worried staff who feared up to 500 posts could be lost.
But GMB spokesman Tom Allison said it was too early to speculate on what numbers might be involved.
“All we know so far is that employees were called to a meeting and told that cuts were required as a result of the changes announced in the Budget,” he said.
“We don’t have any numbers as yet, but I imagine on the basis of the Budget, they will be significant.
“I would not wish to put any figure on it at the moment, but we are extremely concerned about the situation and its impact on the job security of our members at the company.
“We will be monitoring the situation on behalf of our members and hopefully mitigating the process.”
Gentoo staff were called to a meeting at Rainton Meadows Arena on Wednesday morning, at which chief executive Peter Walls outlined the scale of the savings the company has to find.
The firm has blamed reductions in social housing rents and other welfare reforms announced in the recent summer Budget for the need to make savings.
“We are currently analysing the implications of this on our business,” said Mr Walls.
“It is with great regret that a significant proportion of these savings will need to come from our employee costs and this will inevitably result in staff redundancies.
“Being a responsible business is important to us and our staff are the heart of the Group.
“We really value our workforce and their input and, as such, want to inform and involve them in this process as early as possible.
“We are working through what the extent of this looks like and over what timeframe. Our final plan needs to be agreed during October as we are required by our Regulator to submit a revised Business Plan by October 30.”