Staff are "in depression" about Worcestershire County Council changes, says Unison (From Worcester News)
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Staff are "in depression" about Worcestershire County Council changes, says Unison
UNION bosses in Worcestershire have revealed their pain over 1,500 job cuts at the county council - saying workers are "furious" and "in depression" about the massive changes ahead.
The move, which will leave just 2,000 in-house posts, was voted through during a tense full council meeting to signal its biggest structural change in history.
Jim Price, secretary of the council's Unison branch, said: "What's been so concerning to us is that the council has made it pretty clear that they want to privatise as many services as they can, even if it might not lead to savings.
"Only last week we heard that children going into care has gone up 22 per cent in five years, and the council themselves were citing poverty, the economy and homelessness as reasons.
"I don't see any joined up thinking, surely with these changes it will only make things worse.
"Staff are saying 'they don't want us any more', it's a time of massive uncertainty for them and more than half our members could be implicated.
"There is a palpable sense of anger and resentment, I would say people are furious but it's gone beyond that now, they are in depression.
"We will fight to save our jobs and services and keep them in-house.
"The worst option is that we see service closures, the least worst is that we can get agreements like staff co-operatives in place in some areas."
The council's Conservative leadership is focusing on finding new providers for as many services as possible that will take workers with them, mitigating at least some of the job losses.
That could mean the private sector but also other parties like charities, voluntary groups, not-for-profit organisations and new arms-length organisations.
The project is aimed at cutting the budget by around £100 million by 2018 in response to huge demographic pressures and reduced Government funding.
Members of the Conservative cabinet, who backed it on Thursday after opposition from Labour, the Liberal Democrats and Green Party, say they are confident.
Councillor John Campion, cabinet member for commissioning and transformation, said: "I think the staff 'get' that this council is getting dramatically smaller, we are getting fewer resources and I see this as mitigating for those reductions.
"For me, it's about reform that will allow services to carry on in our communities that would otherwise cease to exist.
"It's an operating model which offers an alternative vision."
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