Walsall Council workers facing compulsory redundancies

Compulsory redundancies at Walsall Council are now "inevitable" after only 165 workers applied to voluntarily leave the authority, it was revealed today.

Walsall town hall

Compulsory redundancies at Walsall Council are now "inevitable" after only 165 workers applied to voluntarily leave the authority, it was revealed today.

Council chiefs are cutting more than 400 posts as they battle to save £65 million over three years.

But figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act today reveal only 165 workers have applied for voluntary redundancy.

In total the council is axing 421 jobs — 187 of which are already vacant.

Taking this into account and the number of voluntary redundancy applications, 69 jobs are still facing the chop.

Council leader Mike Bird said today: "Compulsory redundancies are inevitable. Unfortunately we will have to swing the axe and people will go. Services are being reduced and therefore staff have to go.

"This is a first for Walsall. I have been here for 30 plus years and I can't remember any compulsory redundancies."

But Councillor Bird said he believed Walsall was still in a better position than most local authorities.

"We have been very tight with our staff and monitored the situation closely," he said. "I think across the country we are one of the better councils."

The Freedom of Information figures also identify the departments where staff are most eager to leave.

Social care workers have submitted the most applications with a total of 78. This compares to 50 expressions of interest from employees in the council's resources department, 23 in the neighbourhoods section, 11 in regeneration and three in children's services.

Letters were sent out to a total of 1,324 of the council's 10,000 workers asking them if they wanted to take voluntary redundancy.

The responses are now being considered.