Council quicker to make over-50s redundant according to campaign group figures

COUNCIL workers aged over 50 are being made redundant at five times the rate of their younger counterparts, according to a campaign group,

The Wise Owls group, who provide employment support for older workers, made a series of Freedom of Information requests to Tower Hamlets council which reveal the shock figures.

They found that in the twelve months up to November 2009, over-50s accounted for 64% of the council’s redundancies.

Forty-four redundancies fell in the over-50 group, compared to 24 for those aged 25-49.

National figures for redundancies between July 2009 and July 2010 show 22% are in the older age group.

The group says these figures come at a time when massive cuts are still to take place throughout the public sector, leaving older workers feeling unfairly targeted.

Chris Walsh, director of Wise Owls, said: “Traditionally older workers have been encouraged to take voluntary redundancy when cuts are needed and it looks as if that mindset has not changed.

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“However experience from the last cull of older council workers in the 90s showed that those made redundant often failed to get another job, leaving themselves and their families in poverty.”

In a comparison with the council’s 2009 workforce, 1.41% of over-50s were made redundant, more than five times greater than the figure for under-50s - 0.25%.

A council spokeswoman said: “The vast majority of our redundancies are made up of voluntary redundancies i.e. staff who have made a personal decision to take redundancy.

“Local government redundancy schemes are based on age and length of service and as a result many people within the age group in question have found voluntary redundancy a suitable option based on their own individual circumstances.”

Wise Owls also criticised the council for failing to recruit significant numbers of older people.

Less than 9% of new jobs at the council were given to over-50s in the year up to November 2009.