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Union fury over council Christmas job cuts

Union leaders expressed fury today at the latest threat to thousands of council workers' jobs, warning that Christmas was being "ruined" by the Government's spending cuts.

Unite said that Bradford City Council has put thousands of workers at risk of redundancy under plans to axe a quarter of its workforce.

Letters have been issued to its entire workforce placing them at risk of redundancy, with the council planning to lose 2,000 jobs, said Unite.

The union demanded that the council retracts the notice and plans to hold a meeting with its members to discuss the next steps to oppose the threat to jobs.

Regional officer Ray Jones said: "This is a callous and totally unwarranted act by the council. The needless distress caused to at least 10,000 workers so close to Christmas is simply unacceptable and Unite is demanding that the council retracts the letter immediately.

"It is bad enough that the council intends to make 2,000 staff redundant but it has gone even further and ruined Christmas for its entire workforce who now don't know whether they have a job in the New Year or not.

"While the blame for this attack on public sector workers quite firmly lies at the Government's door, the council's approach has only made matters worse. Unite will meet with its members shortly to discuss the next steps to oppose the council's actions."

Unison said several councils in the North West, including Bury, East Cheshire, Cumbria, Sefton and Knowsley had warned of a total of 4,500 job losses as they look to make millions of pounds worth of savings.

"It is a very worrying time for our members and for the crucial services they provide," said a spokesman.

The GMB union said last week that almost 40,000 jobs had been threatened with the axe at around 30 local authorities in recent weeks.