200 jobs face axe at Sandwell Council
More than 200 jobs will be axed at Sandwell Council over the next financial year as the cash-strapped authority tries to balance its books.
Bosses today announced 230 posts will go by April 2015, which follow nearly 700 job cuts at the council since 2011.
The cuts come at a time when Sandwell Council has to make more than £120 million of savings by 2016.
Council deputy leader Councillor Mahboob Hussain said: "These are difficult times and tough decisions have to be taken.
"We are sorry to see jobs going but we will do everything we can to protect frontline services."
The number given for the latest cuts are an estimate of what is necessary to make the required savings.
GMB regional officer Mohammed Khalik said the union is currently in consultation with the council.
He added: "It's concerning that these cuts are being made for the people and the services they provide.
"There are numerous cuts taking place across the council and we need to make sure that the staff that are left are being supported.
"It's a huge concern, with the cuts going on in a number of services that have seen some cuts already.
"We need to make sure the services are still being delivered properly."
One of the major departments to be hit will be children's services, where 50 per cent of posts could go - around 100 jobs - and 20 youth centres could be closed.
Tony Barnsley, joint branch secretary for Sandwell Unison, said they are considering taking action over the cuts to youth services, and are awaiting a response from the council.
He said: "We always try to reduce compulsory redundancies where possible, but the biggest problem we face is the methodology used to pick redundancies. We continue to support our members through these tough times.
"It's difficult and stressful for the members who are under threat and for those that are remaining."
Between April 2011 and 2012, 380 people were made redundant by the authority, of which 49 were compulsory with the rest being made up of voluntary redundancies and those coming to the end of their contracts.
During the same period in the following year another 157 posts were cut, of which 21 were compulsory. In the last financial year 142 posts were deleted, with 22 compulsory redundancies.
Last week deputy leader and finance boss Councillor Steve Eling said positions were expected to be shed within central departments such as human resources and IT. All staff in those departments, and others under the council's 'Improvement and Efficiency' banner, will be put at risk of redundancy from June 18.
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