Thousands of staff cut from Gloucestershire councils, statistics show
MORE than 5,000 employees have been axed from Gloucestershire County Council's workforce in less than three years, according to the latest statistics.
The loss of 5,478 roles, a 25.4 per cent reduction in workers between the first quarter of 2010 and the third quarter of 2012, ranks the authority third in the south west for staff cuts.
Cheltenham Borough Council's workforce has shrunk from 882 employees to 640, a loss of 27.4 per cent, but Gloucester City Council's workforce has bucked the trend of reductions, growing from 489 to 575, up 17.5 per cent.
The figures have been published by GMB, the union for public service workers.
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All of the data was provided by local authorities to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and the numbers take into account the schools workforce.
Gloucestershire is one of five councils in the south west which GMB has written to, querying the figures they gave to ONS.
Councillor Mark Hawthorne, leader of the county council, described the figures as "misleading".
He said: "These figures are rather misleading because they contain school staff who have transferred to academies, as well as staff who've transferred to other organisations.
"We have had to make hard choices to balance our books and enable us to protect vital services – like supporting the vulnerable in our community.
"That has inevitably led to some job losses, but not nearly on the scale claimed here."
Amanda Attfield, head of human resources for Cheltenham Borough Council, attributed the drop in staff numbers partly to the increased sharing of services.
She said: "There have been significant changes as a result of the different way services are delivered by the council."
A spokesman for Gloucester City Council said the authority would have to check the figures in detail, but added that permanent staffing levels 'had not changed'.
He said any increase would be down to the use of temporary staff.