Canal & River Trust has initiated a redundancy program by starting a 60 day consultation period for affected staff. This announcement follows an exodus of executives and senior managers (Another one bites the dust) and the news that the trust is to reduce its regions from ten to six.
National Association of Boat Owners says that 90 C&RT staff, including remaining waterways managers, have been given 60 days notice. However, they will be able to apply for any new jobs created by the restructure. This may be Chief Executive, Richard Parry's way of getting waterway managers to accept greater responsibility without salary increase or maybe he intends to cherry pick the ones he wants to keep.
Publicly, Richard Parry said: “These changes are about re-focusing and simplifying the organisation so that we enable everyone across the Trust to make their greatest possible contribution, to serve our customers and support local communities to enjoy their local waterway. We have to find ways to do more and cost less to ensure a secure and sustainable future for the Trust.”
Lets start with C&RT’s executive team. It was back in March that The Floater posed the question ‘Too many chiefs at C&RT?’. It was pointed out that C&RT started with six directors some five years ago but this number had now increased to nine. The problem with increasing the number of directors is that it naturally leads to an increase in the staff which in turn increases employment costs. In the case of C&RT, the number of staff employed has increased by some 200 with total employment costs rising by 30 per cent, from £50m to 65m over the last four years. That’s £15m a year that could have been spent elsewhere.
With two directors ‘stepping down’ and not replaced comes the opportunity for a reshuffle of executive responsibilities and a re-organisation. It has always been the case that one must justify redundancies on the back of a re-organisation.
The axe will fall mainly on the waterways regions with a cull of waterway managers already achieved. Three Waterway Managers will leave before the new year - one has already gone. These three positions have been filled by interim appointments with no attempt to recruit. A fourth Waterway Manager was been appointed as Interim Head of Boating some time ago following the sudden departure of Mike Grimes. Again, no attempt has been made to recruit a new Head of Boating.
The bottom line is that C&RT has its six Waterway Managers for the new ‘Super Regions’ because four of the ten current Regions are being managed as temporary appointments.