Strike threat looms over town hall cuts in Manchester

Image caption,
Manchester needs to make £109m of savings over the next financial year

The threat of strikes at Manchester City Council has been raised with a majority of union members voting for a ballot on industrial action.

A Unite spokesman said the result of 80% in favour showed a "very real anger" over plans to axe 2,100 jobs.

The Labour-run council needs to reduce its workforce by about 17% after government cuts to its funding.

The union will now decide whether to hold a formal ballot of its 1,024 members at the authority.

Unite held the consultative ballot of its members to gauge the appetite for some form of industrial action over the planned job losses.

Of the 20% of union members who took part, more than four-fifths were in favour.

Community 'fight'

Peter Allenson, Unite's national officer for local authorities, said the result demonstrated "the very real anger at the scale of what the council is proposing.

"The city council needs to take note that our members will not take the decimation of local government services lying down.

"This is not just a fight that affects our members and their jobs, but the wider Manchester community and what sort of local government services they wish to see in the years to come."

Manchester City Council needs to make £109m of savings over the next financial year, rising to £170m in 2012/13.

Councillor Bernard Priest, council spokesman on human resources, said the authority's main aim was to avoid compulsory redundancies.

"We understand, and to a large extent share, the anger of the unions at the position which we have been placed in by government cuts which has meant we have to make huge savings very quickly," he said.

"We will continue to work together with unions on behalf of our employees in order to minimise the impact on them and provide the best possible service to the people of Manchester."

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