Dudley council staff are ‘very afraid for their jobs’ after £32million cuts were announced in the borough, say union chiefs.
Borough bosses revealed yesterday that they need to make the savings on top of an initially-predicted £26m over the next three years after its Government funding was slashed.
Under the initial plan to save £26m, the council had proposed up to 334 job losses by 2017 but it is now feared that many more could be at risk.
Andrew Maybury, secretary of the Dudley branch of Unison, said: “We have got serious concerns for our members’ jobs and serious concerns for the services that they provide and, whilst we would prefer voluntary redundancies as opposed to compulsory redundancies, we have still got concerns that this would mean a reduction in the levels of service for people living in Dudley.
“People are very afraid for their jobs and feel insecure about what is going to happen to them in the future. These are people who have families and people have to plan for the future and pay their mortgages which they can’t if they are uncertain about what is going to happen.
“We will provide support for our members in the comings weeks but it is not easy at this stage to say where these extras cuts will come and whether our members will be affected.”
Council bosses have said officers will be looking ‘at everything’ in a bid to fill the massive shortfall in cash.
Among the savings already identified are cuts to street cleaning, which will see residents being encouraged to hold their own litter picks, and plans to shorten the collection period for green waste to save £100,000. Dudley Performing Arts has suffered a cut to its funding in 2013/14 of £178,000, which has led to staff being warned of a redundancy risk.
Today residents spoke out over which services they would like to see escape the cuts. Joan Buffey, aged 79, of Broadway in Norton, said: “I think the parks are important – it is something people take great pride in when living in this area and it would be a shame if they were not looked after. Elderly people especially enjoy the parks.”
Reginald Griffith, 65, of West Street in Stourbridge, said: “The roads around here are already terrible, and the footpaths – they need improving, not by having cuts to the service. The road in West Street is particularly bad.”
Katherine Green, 39, of Albert Street, said: “I think about the libraries when I hear this.
“They are convenient in the fact that they are open when you need them, if the hours were cut it would be annoying when you cannot use them if you are at work.”