Valentine's Day to be 'jobs heart-breaker'

A VALENTINE'S Day decision on up to £73.3million of budgets could be a heart-breaker, a union has warned.

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North Lanarkshire Council has chosen February 14 to set its 2013/14 budget after months of protests over the proposals.

As many as 1300 jobs could be axed when councillors vote on the proposals.

In October, the council published options for savings totalling £105m, from which £73.3m could be required in financial years 2013/14 to 2015/6.

Workers are now bracing themselves for bad news when the decision is taken next month at Motherwell Civic Centre.

John Mooney, Unison's North Lanarkshire branch secretary, said: "There could be a lot of broken hearts. We hope it does not turn into a St Valentine's Day massacre.

"There is this frightening figure of a potential 1300 job cuts, but those are full-time jobs, so the actual figure could be closer to 2200 when you count part-time posts.

"But we feel there is little chance of that many job cuts.

"This is likely a case of the council putting out a frightening figure of 1300 job cuts, so it can turn round and claim to have saved a lot of jobs when it decides to cut fewer than the 1300 quoted all along.

"However, we have not had the level of engagement with the council we would have liked, so we can't say anything with any certainty.

Mr Mooney said more than 90% of the council's workers live in North Lanarkshire, so any job cuts would have a major impact on an already deprived area.

Council leader Jim McCabe said: "We have scrutinised every single option over many hours of meetings.

"I will put forward a package for consideration that best protects frontline services and jobs and takes into account some of the very strong views expressed during the consultation."

stef.lach@ heraldandtimes.co.uk

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