Trade union Unison has confirmed that a restructure of Thanet council’s tourism, coastal and operational services departments initially affecting up to 15- 20 people has resulted in a much lower loss – and the role of the Thanet Coast Project officer has been saved for now.
Unison regional organiser Mark Hammond confirmed two voluntary redundancies have been taken – adding that the person responsible for overseeing the restructure has also left the authority.
The authority concluded a consultation period with staff whose jobs were put at risk in April.
According to the budget for 2019-20 -which was agreed by a majority at full council on February 28 – proposals were to make £250,000 in savings.
However Unison’s hoped for U turn seems to have been mostly achieved although hours at Margate’s Visitor Information Centre in Droit House have been reduced as of this week. The centre is now closed on Monday and Tuesdays.
A petition was raised in response to the news that Thanet Coast Project officer Tony Child was one of those under threat.
Thanet Coast Project runs numerous activities on the isle including beach cleans, scavenger hunts, seashore safaris as well as conservation work and research.
The petition, by resident Sam Bessant, said: “The Thanet Coast Project has over 100 trained volunteers that need coordinating and without this key role, it is likely to be the end of the project.
“This volunteer resource provided over 2200 hours of work on the Thanet coast last year.”
The call was backed by Margate company Haeckels, which posted its support for Tony, and many in the community.
It is understood the coastal officer post will be funded for the current financial year with exploration on how it can then be self-funded. If alternative funding is not found then the role may be made redundant.
Unison’s Mr Hammond confirmed the role will not be lost, adding: “We are pleased that that were just two redundancies and that they were voluntary.”
Local tourism is the biggest boost to Thanet’s economy with some 4.2 million visitors and an annual £319 million spend each year, supporting 7,950 jobs.
Those figures are expected to grow significantly this year with the Turner Prize 2019 being hosted at Turner Contemporary in September.