Fifty eight St Helena Government finance staff have been told their jobs are “under review” in a reorganisation.
A spokesman said the number of jobs to be lost would not be known until early 2013, but it was expected some staff would be made redundant.
News that jobs were being “reviewed” came a week after it was announced that David Thomson, the government’s director of infrastructure, had been “released from his contract” in another reorganisation.
The St Helena Independent reported that other expatriate officials had “spent hours reading the small-print in their employment contracts” in the wake of the surprise news.
It said: “The quite spectacular sacking of David Thomson last Friday has made many officers nervous that they might be next in turn to be ‘restructured’.”
It appeared the reorganisation of government departments had also taken councillors unawares.
Acting governor Owen O’Sullivan said the restructuring was already agreed under the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that secured UK airport funding.
His executive council report said: “I made it clear that the plans provided to ExCo last week were to inform elected members, as we already have a clear mandate under the MoU to take this work forward.”
The report suggested councillors had not been directly involved in the reorganisation and did not know what was proposed until it had been decided.
Yet a press release issued on 19 November 2012 said restructuring would “more clearly link policy with political oversight,” as well as improving efficiency and value for money.
Another press release, issued on 27 November, announced that the Finance Directorate would become part of a slimmer Corporate Services section from 1 January 2013.
It said: “These changes will involved the removal of a number of posts, and staff affected by this have been informed. Some of these staff will either retire, be made redundant or be transferred to another role within SHG.”
A spokesman told St Helena Online: “At this stage there is nothing further to add to the information already given, as discussions with staff are ongoing and the details of numbers affected are not yet available.
“Further details will be provided in the New Year when the reorganisation has been completed.
“At the moment there are 58 staff in the directorate. All staff, including any ‘expat’ staff, are included in the review.”