‘Public sector job losses are coming thick and fast. Councils in particular are bringing forward job losses in order to cope with the deep budget cuts that take effect next April.’
That was the warning made by Brendan Barber, the general secretary of the TUC, after it was revealed yesterday that local councils and other public sector employers will issue masses of redundancy notices to workers over the Christmas period.
Over 100,000 public sector workers are expected to receive letters by December 31.
The letters are a legal warning that give staff 90 days’ notice, enabling local councils and other bodies to cut posts by March 31, in order to come in line with greatly reduced budgets being imposed from April 1.
So far 82 local councils across the UK have issued HR1 forms, but 140 authorities have yet to give notice of job cuts.
The civil service and government-backed charities will also lay staff off.
Trades Union Congress leader Barber said: ‘Hundreds of thousands of local government workers face having their Christmas ruined by redundancy notices.
‘What is most concerning is that unemployment is mounting before the austerity measures have really started to take hold.
‘With 2011 set to be a bleak year for jobs, the relish with which ministers are announcing cuts is looking increasingly cruel.’
Unison, the biggest public sector union, staged a symbolic protest yesterday, demanding ‘Stop pulling our public services apart’.
The Unison General Secretary Dave Prentis said: ‘Contrary to the coalition’s claims, these cuts are hurting and the pain will only get worse.
‘Vital services will shut their doors and we face the grim prospect of a million people in the public and private sector losing their jobs.’
On Wednesday, official figures showed that unemployment leapt by 35,000.
Nearly all of the rise has been attributed to 33,000 redundancies already made by the public sector.
Youth unemployment has reached 19.8 per cent (one in five).