Union representatives call on Darlington Borough Council to fight for Darlington (From The Advertiser Series)
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Union representatives call on Darlington Borough Council to fight for Darlington
UNION representatives at Darlington Borough Council have painted a bleak picture for the future of the town if millions of pounds worth of cuts go ahead in the coming years.
Bob Woods, on behalf of Unison, and Alan Docherty, from Darlington Trades Union Council (TUC), urged members of Darlington Borough Council’s cabinet to fight for services and council employees and stand up to central government.
The union’s call came as the cabinet agreed to a medium term financial plan that predicts £17m of cuts by 2016/17, on top of £24m of savings already found.
The cuts mean that a number of redundancies are expected among council workers, although officers do not yet know how many the authority will be forced to make, along with the loss of some services.
Mr Wood, whose union represents public sector workers across the UK, said: “In the last three years about 500 jobs have already gone at Darlington Borough Council. The remaining staff have worked hard to keep services going.
“They have had no pay rise since 2009 and have had their terms and conditions eroded. Another £3m of savings need to be made in the next year – these are worrying times for staff as they wait to find out what will happen to their jobs, and that is before another £14m of cuts to services.”
Mr Docherty, from the TUC, said: “The loss of 500 jobs has already had an economic impact on the town and it seems that the council is quite happy to pass on cuts to the rest of the town.
“We need someone to stand up and speak out for Darlington. The TUC wants to see a political party stand up to the government and say “We are not going to let this happen, we will not make these cuts”.
“If this council cares about Darlington it’s got to stand up to the government. Just doing their dirty work will do irreparable damage to the town.”
In response, Councillor Stephen Harker, who chaired the cabinet meeting in the absence of leader Bill Dixon, said: “I would certainly dispute that we are ‘happy’ to pass on the cuts. We have a legal duty to pass a budget and part of that involves passing on cuts.”