South East Wales

Cardiff Council cuts: Unison does not rule out action

Cardiff County Hall Image copyright M J Richardson

Industrial action has not been ruled out by a union after it warned that £32m of cuts by Cardiff council will have "devastating consequences".

The authority is trying to plug a £48m budget shortfall which could see jobs go, along with cuts to leisure and park services, and health and social care.

Council tax could also go up by 5% and £5m savings made on employee costs.

Unison said it was still working with the council, which admits it faces "significant financial challenges".

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Media captionUnison's Steve Belcher said delivering "world-class services" across Cardiff would be difficult

Unison regional organiser Steve Belcher said he expected people to be "furious" at the extent of the cuts, which could also see street lights dimmed and an end to funding for the New Year Calennig celebration.

He said the union had not yet walked away from the negotiating table with the council but he said industrial action could happen.

"We say never rule that out," he said.

"It's never something we would wish for but ultimately sometimes it's something we have to look at."

Possible savings

  • Library service restructure (£283,000 savings)
  • Youth service, including charging for Duke of Edinburgh Awards scheme (£1,250,000)
  • Catering - increasing school meals by 20p in 2015 then a further 10p in 2017 (£300,000)
  • Cutting 13 posts in parks and leisure (£329,000)
  • Permanently closing public toilets which are currently closed temporarily (£53,000)
  • Increased burial and cremation fees (£200,000)
  • Cuts and alterations to bus services (£236,000)
  • Smaller wheelie bins or less frequent collections (£267,000)

Health and social care faces being hit hardest with the council looking to trim £7.9m from this department, according to a report which the council's cabinet will consider on Thursday.

On top of the cuts, the council is trying to make £2m in efficiency savings and raise an additional £13m.

This could be through council tax going up by 5%, bringing in £5.2m, and £5m savings made on employee costs.

The report for 2015-16 said there is a "backdrop of significant financial challenges".

It also says that "it remains likely that there will be redundancies within the council's workforce".

While the exact number of potential redundancies is not know at present, the report says it is likely to be in excess of 20.

'Difficult decisions'

If the cabinet approve the plans, they will go out to public consultation.

Councillor Graham Hinchey, cabinet member for corporate services and performance, said: "There is no doubt that ongoing financial austerity will lead to difficult decisions ahead.

"We are committed to working with staff, trade unions and local communities through consultation."

He added: "We are looking to change the way we deliver services by exploring innovative new ways of working, supporting communities' and partners' capacity to deliver services and manage assets."

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