Government cuts were blamed today (Tuesday 16 September) for the Birmingham City Council’s decision to axe a further 6,000 jobs in the next four years.
Unite, which represents over 1,000 employees at the city council, said that this 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 were due to meet the council leader Sir Albert Bore tomorrow morning (Wednesday 17 September) for a briefing on the cuts.
For further information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 07768 693940 and/or the Unite press office on 020 3371 2065.
Twitter: @unitetheunion Facebook: unitetheunion1 Web: unitetheunion.org
Notes to editors:
Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.