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Last Updated: Tuesday, 19 September 2006, 19:13 GMT 20:13 UK
Unions slam 'Thatcherite' council
Wallsend Town Hall
North Tyneside Council needs to make savings
A Labour-run council on Tyneside is being branded as Thatcherite amid concern that key services are to be contracted out.

North Tyneside Council needs to make savings of 40m and plans to hand some services over to external agencies.

Unions are concerned this will result in the loss of 1,000 jobs and have not ruled out strike action.

The council called their response disappointing and said it wanted to deliver value for money.

Services affected include street cleaning, refuse collection, grass cutting and repairs and maintenance.

'At a loss'

Proposals to hand over the borough's schools to trusts have also drawn criticism.

Elaine Kay, from the National Union of Teachers, said: "I can't understand why it is the council is even proposing going down this route, and we are working very hard on trying to get into dialogue with the council and propose alternative plans because we don't think this is right for the children of North Tyneside."

Unions have organised a series of public meetings about the plans.

Kenny Bell from Unison said: "I'm shocked. It is the most radical proposal for change we have seen, we've never seen anything like it in the northern region.

"It even goes further than some of the Tory so-called flagship authorities like Westminster."

A council spokesman said savings had already been made, and added: "It is very disappointing that the trade unions do not support this approach and we are at a loss to understand where their figures come from."

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