Public sector union Unison, yesterday warned that predicted huge job losses in the public sector could wipe out vital local services such as day centres, elderly care, libraries, meals on wheels and children’s services.
The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) survey of more than 700 employers found that firms in all sectors plan to cut 6.2 per cent of their workforce in the first three months of 2010, compared with 3.8 per cent in the previous quarter.
Almost a third of public sector employers are planning to cut jobs during the first quarter of this year.
Unison general secretary Dave Prentis, said: ‘Unison has been ringing alarm bells for more than a year now about job cuts in the public sector.
‘Only last week Birmingham City Council announced 2,000 jobs are to go and we are seeing cuts being made week by week across the country.
‘Many Tory councils are using the recession as a smokescreen to cull jobs and privatise services.
‘The choice to axe jobs is politically, not financially, driven and, once again, it is the public who will suffer as vital services are wiped-out.
‘Many people rely on home care, day centres, meals on wheels, children’s services and it is economic madness to target them for cuts.
‘It makes no sense to add public services workers to the dole queues.
‘We are still in the grip of the economic downturn, which means that people rely more than ever on public services for help and support.’
The Unite trade union said that cutting public sector jobs would hinder, rather than help, Britain’s economic recovery.
Unite said that the public sector was ‘integral’ to recovery, as the CIPD predicted that defence and administration in the public sector would be particularly hard hit.
Gail Cartmail, Unite assistant general secretary for the public sector said public sector unions, such as Unite, had a key role to play in supporting workers during these difficult times and to show the negative effect of losing skills and know-how which happens when staff are made redundant – and these skills are then very difficult to recover.
Cartmail said: ‘Public services and their staff are integral to the UK’s recovery from the global recession caused by reckless banking practices.
‘Organisations, such as Oxfam, and numerous leading economists caution against cutting public services, as they view recovery as being reliant on the stimulus and support public expenditure provides.
‘According to TUC analysis, a 10 per cent cut in 2007 – 2008 public sector expenditure equates to 200,000 jobs.
‘In cities, such as Newcastle where two thirds of the economically active are employed in the public sector, the impact of such cuts would be devastating to the local economy – reduced taxation, reduced spending and, ironically greater reliance, on public services such as Job Centres and increased government expenditure on supporting the unemployed and their families.’
Workers need more than criticism of these measures from their union leaders, they need a leadership that organises action, including occupations and strike action, to defend all jobs and public services.
They need a leadership that will call a general strike to bring down this bankers government and replace it with a workers government and socialism.