The survey figures produced jointly by the DoE and the local authority associations show 33,544 of the 49,560 lost jobs were full time posts and 16,016 part time. Of the full time posts lost over half - 20,800 - were white collar.
The Local Government Management Board estimates a minority of the total job losses are the result of redundancies. A telephone survey of councils identified 11,700 redundancies but the board says this is likely to be an underestimate.
The rest of the decline in people employed in local government is due to factors such as the freezing of posts, the cessation of short term contracts and early retirements.
'Those who have lost their jobs - and even more important, those in the public who depended for services on those who lost their jobs -now require an apology from Mr Gummer', said Mr Straw.
Unison's head of local government Keith Sonnet said the government had betrayed council workers and warned of industrial relations problems next year.
'Unison members accepted a 1.5% pay limit this year with dire warnings from the government that if they rejected it, job cuts would be inevitable. Now our members face both a pay freeze and huge cuts in local government funding. That will lead to further substantial job losses', said Mr Sonnet.
'Industrial relations in local government will be thrown into chaos and conflict will arise as a result of these policies'.