COUNCIL bosses say they can’t rule out compulsory redundancies in the future as they battle with shrinking budgets.

East Ayrshire Council also say there will be a freeze on external recruitment apart from some roles including teachers and carers.

The council has vowed to move employees to different roles when possible to avoid people being forced out.

So far, 43 employees are being retrained to work in nurseries as part of a national drive to provide more childcare for preschool kids.

Every year 320 employees in the council will leave their roles through early retirement, redundancy or redeployment, a report said.

Last week’s cabinet meeting (May 1) heard the council plans to reduce its staff as part of a workforce plan.

Labour Councillor John McGhee said he wanted an amendment that no employee would ever be forced to leave their job.

He called for a guarantee there would be no compulsory redundancies during the current administration.

But council leader Douglas Reid said: “We can’t say there would be no compulsory redundancies.”

He pointed out there is a redeployment drive to get staff into other roles instead of losing them.

A paper presented to Councillors said : “Currently 43 employees from a range of services such as business support, so cial car e, vibrant communities and education have been successfully appointed to career change positions within our early years’ service.”

Chief governance officer David Mitchell said: “Compulsory redundancies are only a last resort and will come to cabinet for specific approval. The challenge we face is the biggest we have to face.”