by Tim Lezard Unions are this morning meeting with the leader of Birmingham City Council, as the authority announces 6,000 further job cuts. Unite has blamed government cuts for the cull, saying it was a “savage blow” not just for the hardworking counc …

Tim Lezard Europe, UK, UK unions, Unite,

Birmingham City Councilby Tim Lezard

Unions are this morning meeting with the leader of Birmingham City Council, as the authority announces 6,000 further job cuts.

Unite has blamed government cuts for the cull, saying it was a “savage blow” not just for the hardworking council workforce, but for the million people that rely on its services.

Unite regional secretary for the West Midlands Gerard Coyne said: “This will be a crippling blow to the West Midlands regional economy as we estimate that for every pound spent on council staff wages 52 pence is spent locally.

“The city council faces about £200 million worth of cuts and the workforce which stood at 20,000 in 2011 will be pruned back to just under 7,000 in the next three years.  By 2018, a total of £800 million of worth cuts will have been enforced – which equates to 60 per cent of the controllable budget.

“This will be heart breaking news for the council employees whose jobs are under threat and their families and further reinforces the savagery of the coalition’s austerity programme.

“People rely on council services to educate their children, to care for the elderly, to provide housing for those in need, and act as an agent of economic generation – all these services, and many more, will be severely eroded.

“Birmingham, which was a pioneer in municipal improvements under Joe Chamberlain in Victorian times, has been abandoned by George Osborne in London.”

Unite national officer for local government, Fiona Farmer said: “We have always warned that 70 per cent of the coalition’s cuts to local councils were still coming down the track – and the news from Birmingham this afternoon bears this out.

“What is happening in Birmingham is and will be replicated across the country’s local authorities and will be strongly resisted.”

Unite and other unions are due to meet council leader Sir Albert Bore this morning for a briefing on the cuts.


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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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