Nursery staff in Brighton and Hove are being given extra time to come up with ideas to stave off a shake up that will cut jobs, hours and pay.
Staff at four nurseries run by Brighton and Hove City Council have until this Friday (19 August) to submit their proposals.
Officials are consulting with employees in the four nurseries about changes to the staffing structure to achieve budget savings.
The council said: “The aim of the changes is also to establish a structure with clear roles for staff and greater consistency across the nurseries.
“It is recognised that the consultation is proposing significant changes. One to one meetings have been held with all staff so the impact can be fully considered.
“The final outcome of the consultation may be different and may vary according to the needs of each nursery.
“The deadline for comments has been extended to 19 August.
“The council has to make savings in all areas to find £45.5 million by 2019-20. Families, Children and Learning has to find £3.1 million in 2019-20.”
When councillors set the annual budget they agreed to end the budget subsidy of £461,000 by 2020.
The council said: “The intention is to keep the nurseries open as they provide high quality childcare in some of the most deprived areas of the city.
“The administration decided not to consider different operating models and to keep the nurseries in-house at this juncture.
“More places will be needed from September 2017 when free childcare for three and four-year-olds with working parents is extended to 30 hours.
“The restructure is estimated to save £140,000 once protected pay has finished.”
The nurseries under review are
- Bright Start – in the Old Slipper Baths in the North Laine
- Roundabout – at the Roundabout Children’s Centre in Whitehawk
- Cherry Tree – at the Hollingdean Children’s Centre
- Acorn – at the North Portslade Children’s Centre
The Jump Start Nursery at the Moulsecoomb Children’s Centre is not included, the council said, because it was “restructured” last year.
Staff were told that there would be no compulsory redundancies. But with pay cuts of up to £5,000 a year looming, bosses hope at least half a dozen staff will apply for voluntary severance.
The biggest impact is expected to on staff at Bright Start and Acorn where there are currently more experienced and longer-serving staff.
The council added: “All one to one meetings have been completed and staff have been asked about the working hours they would prefer to work and their personal circumstances.
“Staff have raised issues about the changes in grade, reductions in hours and different shift patterns. These comments are being considered.
“It should be noted that alternative proposals are likely to be more expensive and reduce savings.”
Final decisions will be made after the new extended consultation period ends on Friday.
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