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Union warns over council job cuts

Tuesday March 8th 2011

A leading union has warned that councils could face legal challenges over job cuts on equality grounds as a result of incomplete impact assessments.

Unison said 75% of local authorities planning redundancies have not submitted the equality assessments while considering the cutbacks.

The union called on councils to halt the flood of job loss announcements and "properly assess" the impact of future job losses.

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Heather Wakefield, Unison's head of local government, said: "Today is the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day, but evidence is mounting that it could be a backward, not forward step for equality in 2011.

"Councils are duty-bound to make sure job cuts do not have a disproportionate impact on women, on workers with disabilities or ethnic minority staff. But this survey shows they are flouting the rules and ploughing ahead with heavy job cuts regardless.

"Councils should put the brakes on and take a closer look at the effect of job cuts.

"Women, ethnic minorities and people with disabilities are well-represented in the local government workforce, so there's a real chance that heavy job losses will fall disproportionately on to these groups. This could leave the door wide open to costly and time-consuming legal challenges."

A number of local authorities across the UK have announced plans for tens of thousands of job losses in the wake of the Government's public spending cuts.

Copyright © Press Association 2011

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