19 October 2021

Unfair impact of British Council cuts

The organisation’s plans to cut jobs are having a disproportionate impact on lower grade staff.

The British Council is planning to close some overseas offices and reduce staffing numbers by 2,000 globally, in order to reduce its pay bill by 15-20% overall.

Large numbers of employees in lower paid roles are facing either redundancy or being outsourced to a private service provider, however the number of highly paid senior roles is increasing or staying the same in some areas. The Third Sector’s Charity Pay Study 2021 puts the British Council 11th on the list of the highest earners and top of the list for employees earning more than £60k. 627 people earned more than £60k in 2021, compared to 511 in 2019 and 339 in 2015.

The redundancy consultation began on 5 July but PCS has still not seen the business case for the restructuring of British Council.

PCS industrial officer Helen Flanagan said:

“The British Council’s approach in creating and retaining highly paid jobs and employing consultants while attempting to make mass jobs cuts and outsourcing further down the scale is unacceptable. The current structure is top heavy and questionable.

“The piecemeal approach and lack of transparency adds insult to injury. Any Business Transformation should be fair and equitable so that lower paid staff and vulnerable groups (eg women, those from ethnic backgrounds, lower socio-economic status, or with disabilities) are not disproportionately affected.”

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