100 job losses loom at Dudley Council
Almost 100 jobs will be axed by Dudley Council over this financial year, it was announced today - sparking concern that the authority is reaching 'breaking point' due to ongoing staff cut-backs.
The council is to make 27 compulsory and 72 voluntary redundancies in 2014/15 as it struggles to balance its books in the face of £34 million cuts over the next three years.
It follows the loss of 621 jobs from the council over the previous three years and comes a day after more job losses were warned of at neighbouring Sandwell Council.
Today, Councillor Stuart Turner, Dudley's cabinet member for finance, said: "In the light of reduced funding from national government we are working on smarter and more innovative ways of delivering services.
"With regard to staffing levels we are also looking to reduce the need for compulsory redundancies by encouraging voluntary redundancies, managing vacancies and redeploying staff to other areas wherever possible.
"Inevitably, however, there will be some compulsory redundancies as a result of the agreed budget for 2014/15 and we will be working with staff throughout this process."
The figures have been met with concern from union bosses, who represent some of the workers at the council.
Steve Beardsmore, branch secretary for Unison, said: "We have to remember that this new set of redundancies comes on top of the hundreds of workers who have already been made redundant over the past couple of years.
"There has to come a breaking point - at the moment services are being provided because workers are doing over and above what they are contracted to do. You can't get a quart from a pint bottle."
Mr Beardsmore, who represents 3,500 council staff, said: "Everybody is totally disappointed. It is a feeling of no matter what they do they are being targeted.
"There have been cuts to the police and health service, but it feels the local councils are bearing the brunt.
"The way we are heading we are in danger of not being able to meet the legally statutory service."
Mohammed Khalik, regional organiser for GMB, represents 3,000 workers at Dudley Council.
He said: "The ongoing Government cuts mean councils are having to find cut-backs. The reality of this is redundancies are having to be made.
"Those impacted are people with livelihoods, they have families but are being made unemployed and finding themselves in a very difficult position.
"I've spoken to people who are scared about going into the world of trying to find work again at a time where there isn't much about."
The budget approved in March resulted in a council tax freeze, which resulted in a £1.1million Government grant.
But there are fears still more money will have to be saved on top of the £34m proposed by 2016/17.
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