A NORTH-EAST council is to cut up to 80 jobs due to financial pressures.

Redcar and Cleveland Council has already started a formal consultation with unions as a consequence of the need to make further cuts to their budgets.

Eve Cole, Branch Secretary of Redcar and Cleveland Unison said: "Our members both work for the community and contribute economically to the community and job losses on this scale will have a real damaging impact on the area.

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"This is a devastating blow to an already overstretched workforce and comes off the back of approximately over 300 jobs lost to the organisation in the first round of cuts.

"As always the union is committed to work with the Council in order to mitigate losses and avoid compulsory redundancies.

"However, the requirement to make further cuts is evidence that the Government's attack on the public sector as a result of their Comprehensive Spending Review is continuing. "These cuts to services will have a huge impact on how public services will be delivered and it is important that the public is made aware that public sector workers are not responsible for the inevitable consequences of these government imposed cuts."

Councillor George Dunning, leader of Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council, said: “We have already launched what will be an extensive consultation process with employees and the trade unions.

“Up to 80 jobs are likely to be affected and we are exploring all possible options with regards to these, including the potential for people to take early retirement or voluntary redundancy, or be redeployed to other roles.

“The welfare of our staff and our ability to provide vital frontline services to our communities remains of paramount importance. A wide range of support will be available to employees – both those directly affected and their colleagues.

“We have a strong track record in Redcar and Cleveland of offering support to people in difficult economic times, having been through the mothballing of the steelworks last year and making our own budget cuts earlier this year.

“It is with regret that we are having to take these measures, but the unprecedented scale of the financial squeeze on local authorities means difficult decisions must be made.

"A detailed report on how we intend to deal with this situation will be considered at the October meeting of the council’s cabinet.”