Exclusive: Labour says “sorry” to staff in voluntary redundancy request

Sienna Rodgers

Labour has apologised to staff for resorting to redundancies as a result of its poor financial situation, sending around a Q&A document that explains why and how around 90 jobs will be cut to reduce costs, LabourList can reveal.

LabourList sources say employees were told earlier today that party reserves are now down to just one month’s payroll and general secretary David Evans told the national executive committee: “We don’t have any money.”

“We are sorry that we have had to come to this. It is not a decision the party has come to lightly,” reads the message to staff seen by LabourList. Staff have been given a deadline of August 9th for expressing an interest in redundancy.

Interested employees will receive quotes, having until August 31st to accept their quote and apply for voluntary severance. Labour then gets the choice of which staffers to keep: it will decide “who to release and who to decline”.

The party Q&A document sent round to staffers includes questions such as “When we launched O2W [Organise to Win] we said that it was not about reducing head count. Now we are doing this. Why?” and “What happens if you don’t get enough volunteers?”.

On why Labour cannot simply raise more money, it says: “To manage commitments, organisational costs can only be funded through recurring and consistent income, whereas the results of fundraising efforts are used to fund our campaign activities.”

And on the question of why senior staff cannot take a pay cut, the document replies: “Our senior staff receive appropriate salaries for the jobs they do and if we are to attract and retain people to fill these posts we need to maintain the current position.”

The paper states that there is a “financial imperative” for the reduction of around 90 jobs and “need to reduce our costs”, and that the party will “review the position” once the voluntary severance scheme has concluded.

While not committing to no compulsory redundancies, saying the cost reductions are “imperative” and citing the possibility that too few volunteer for redundancy, it specifies: “We will only consider compulsory redundancy as a last resort.”

In response to another question, the Q&A notes: “What we won’t be doing is allowing somebody to leave and then backfilling their job with a new recruit. That does not save the party any money, indeed it costs us money.”

But the party has been criticised today over its hiring through an agency of up to 50 ‘temporary investigation officers’ who would work on clearing the significant backlog of internal complaints.

LabourList has been told the voluntary severance offer being made to staff is three weeks of pay for every year served. Evans has said Labour’s finances have suffered due to lost members and using funds to deal with antisemitism cases.

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