Job cuts at Essex councils spell disaster for local communities

Essex residents will be hit hard by plans to slash nearly 100 council jobs, UNISON warns today.

Redundancy notices were served at Thurrock Council today, with 19 jobs slated to go in the first round of cuts, a week after Southend Council revealed plans to lose 80 jobs.

Thurrock is looking to make £18 million savings this year after running up a deficit of nearly £500m, largely through a disastrous investment strategy. It has to make similar cutbacks over the following two years, leaving workers that survive this round of cuts with an axe over their heads, warns UNISON.

Southend needs to slash spending by £14m to balance the books. Of the 80 full-time-equivalent posts to go, 29 have already sought voluntary redundancies and 20-25 will be from not filling vacancies, according to council figures.

Job cuts are also expected at Essex County Council after bosses announced yesterday that they would have to make £32m of cuts, including £5m from staffing costs.

UNISON Eastern head of local government Alex Porter said: “Councils have already spent more than a decade cutting spending, there’s simply no fat to trim.

“Any further cuts to job and services will be a disaster for council workers and the people who rely on them.

“Staff are already overstretched. They won’t be able to keep up the services we all rely on with more work piled on them.

“Local communities shouldn’t have to pay the price for senior officials’ financial mismanagement or the deliberate underfunding of local councils by Westminster. The government needs to stop starving Essex of cash.”