A union has warned of a “tsunami” of job losses in the public sector as a growing number of workers received redundancy warnings even before the government’s spending review.
The GMB said official notifications of possible redundancy were now “piling up” in offices across the country, mainly from councils planning spending cuts ahead of the spending review announcement later this month.
Latest warnings included 800 potential job cuts at Oldham MBC and 500 in the Havering LBC on top of previous threats to thousands of jobs in areas including Birmingham, Sheffield, Walsall, Croydon and Dorset, said the GMB.
National officer Brian Strutton said: “There is a tsunami wave of public sector job losses sector coming down the line. The statutory advance notification of redundancies (HR1s) forms are piling up in GMB offices.
“This tidal wave of redundancy notices is coming because councils are seeking to further reduce staff costs for next year in anticipation of reduced budgets when the government announces cuts on 20 October.
“There is no more efficiency or productivity savings to be had. Councils are now simply cutting back services and hacking back terms and conditions of employment.
“Job insecurity is a crippling fear that is paralysing local government. The people losing their jobs have nowhere to go because the private sector is shedding people too so there is a real state of depression hanging over local government.”
The GMB said some some Tory and Liberal Democrat councils were treating their staff like “dirt”, using a legal device of pretending to make all their workforce redundant and offering some of them re-employment on worse pay and conditions.
“It’s like holding a loaded pistol to people’s heads to force them to accept detrimental change or be out of a job with no compensation,” said Mr Strutton.
The GMB said threatened job cuts in Havering included 11 manual posts, 224 clerical, 130 professional, 60 managerial, 62 technical, six apprentices and trainees and 16 other posts, amounting to 17.5% of the total council workforce.
The HR1 form sent out said job losses would take place between January and March next year as a result of a reduction in funding and changes in work methods or organisation and the introduction of new technology, said the GMB.