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Council faces biggest jobs cull in its history warn unions
UNION leaders have warned that Southampton City Council faces the highest number of job losses in its history.
The warning suggests more than 200 jobs will be axed at the cash-strapped authority next year.
Labour council leaders, who had pledged to keep redundancies to a minimum before they won power in May, postponed a budget announcement in order to finalise where the axe will fall.
The predicted job losses will come on top of an announcement that around 200 temporary council employees will lose their jobs.
In a memo to union members Unison Southampton branch secretary Mike Tucker said: “As a result of the reduction in central government spending, and the actions of the previous Conservative administration of massively increasing the council’s debt and spending its reserves, the number of jobs at risk is likely to be the highest the council has ever faced.”
Mr Tucker told the Echo he was not able to give a definite number until after a briefing on the final budget proposals on November 5 but added: “We think it will be the highest job losses ever because of what the council have said publically.”
A meeting of union members will be held next month to agree possible action against the sweeping cuts at Southampton council.
Finance boss Simon Letts has admitted the council faces its worst ever financial crisis with an estimated £26m budget deficit in the next financial year.
He last night said: “The Conservative Government is imposing massive cuts in our funding. This will put significant numbers of people at risk of redundancy, however it is still our intention to do all we can to re-deploy as many of our at risk staff as we can.”
Opposition Tory leader Royston Smith said: “We knew Labour would axe services and sack hundreds of workers. We said it all along and all along they denied it.”
Council staff will be told of the job losses at meetings on