HUNDREDS of jobs are to go at Kirklees Council, town hall chiefs have warned.
Forty-five jobs will be shed as part of the first stage of a wide-ranging modernisation scheme. The Examiner understands that over the next five years the job losses will continue, with about 300 people leaving the council.
The positions will be lost through voluntary redundancy and a combination of vacant posts being made obsolete and reorganised.
The Examiner understands the plan has been on the drawing board for months, with initial discussions between the council and unions beginning in the last few weeks.
It is believed that the job losses will begin next year. Council Cabinet member Clr Andrew Palfreeman said Kirklees did not have a policy of wholesale staff cuts.
He added: "We aren't looking to make major redundancies of staff. That's not our policy.
"We have a policy of low council tax rises and making services better, but that isn't going to be by cutting the workforce."
The job losses are part of a modernisation programme aimed at "bringing the council into the 21st century", said Clr Palfreeman.
These include new contracts. This means staff who now work unsocial hours will get new contracts which fit their working times - making unsocial hours obsolete.
The council's head of human resources, Cliff Stewart, said this would not affect wages. He added: "We are looking at new ways of working and improving productivity.
"This includes things like homeworking. At the moment we have a pilot scheme with five people working from home and it has produced good results.
"We are looking at extending this to around 45 or 50 in the near future and then moving on from there. We are also looking at holidays. In the council people have between 25 and 35 days holiday.
"What we want to do is set up a system where people can buy and sell holiday days. For example, if you have 30 days holiday but don't want to take them all the council will buy some back from you, or vice versa.
"We want to try and make things more equal."
The council is also to end mileage payments for travel expenses and instead give people a fixed amount every year.
Mr Stewart added: "We are even looking at rewarding people who come up with ideas that improve productivity or costs with holidays or short breaks."
Clr Palfreeman said: "It is about squeezing every pound and getting the most out of it.
"The public wants value for the council tax and providing we can show them, come the next budget round, that the services they use are unaffected or improved and we can deliver on our council tax promises then I'm sure they will be happy."