GLASGOW City Council cannot step in to stop hundreds of job cuts at the SEC, council leader Susan Aitken has said.

Unite the union has reported more than 500 staff at the venue, which is majority-owned by the council, will be made redundant before the furlough scheme ends.

Glasgow Greens’ economy spokesman Allan Young asked the council leader whether she supported that decision.

Ms Aitken said the “incredibly regrettable” redundancies are “very sadly going to be among many” caused by the pandemic.

She said the job retention scheme is being ended “prematurely” by the UK Government.

“The staff who are in the process of being made redundant are not SEC employees,” the leader added.

“Employees at the SEC are either still working or furloughed. The SEC some time ago outsourced its catering and hospitality function to Levy UK.”

Ms Aitken said Levy UK had used the job retention scheme since April but has now informed the SEC it will be carrying out redundancies.

“While it’s not in the power of the council to veto or to stop this process, the council is a key partner in the PACE response to redundancy situations.”

Partnership Action for Continuing Employment (PACE), which was set up by the Scottish Government and includes the DWP, offers support and advice to people facing redundancy.

Skills Development Scotland, the lead partner in PACE, has “been in touch with Levy to outline the support available for staff”.

All affected staff will get “immediate access” to the Glasgow Guarantee programme, Ms Aitken said.

“Glasgow Guarantee is a wage subsidy that offers employers £6,000 towards salary costs on the commitment to a permanent contract and payment of the Living Wage.”

Levy UK has disputed the number of jobs being cut is above 500 but has not provided an exact figure.

Mr Young also asked the council leader to “commit to no longer working with companies who sack hundreds of workers without notice”.

He said: “The council owns most of the shares in the SEC, and Susan Aitken sits on its board, but with no-notice job losses and a huge bonus culture for bosses, there’s little evidence the SNP is using that influence for good.”

Ms Aitken said: “I’m afraid it’s not in my gift to make that commitment. It is not in the power of the council.

“It would be a decision ultimately for the SEC board, although it is an operational decision.”

She said local authorities “will be wanting to look at” how the behaviour of businesses during the pandemic impacts future procurement decisions.

“I think there will be all sorts of questions about how various businesses have behaved during the pandemic.

“And where the job retention scheme hasn’t been used in the way that it was intended and has perhaps been abused in some cases.”

Ms Aitken said the UK Government had ended the job retention scheme “prematurely” for some sectors, such as the events industry, which cannot return to “safe operations in the immediate future”.

“It is putting jobs at risk,” she added. “It is causing redundancies. That’s a deeply regrettable situation which the UK Government, I believe, has in its power to remedy.”

The Green group has also called for an end to the SEC’s “bonus culture” after reports of £200,000 annual bonuses for senior executives.