Kirklees Council’s biggest union UNISON has vowed to fight cuts and job losses and has started consulting members on a possible strike ballot.

Kirklees UNISON has 4,500 members which is understood to be just over half the workforce of the council.

As the biggest union, any strike action would be council-wide and likely to impact all services.

Kirklees Council has to make savings of £47 million in the current financial year and has already warned of up to 750 redundancies.

UNISON says the “first wave” of 250 redundancies are planned between October and March and no voluntary redundancy will be offered.

The council has already stopped all but essential recruitment and axed non-essential spending. If sufficient cuts can’t be found the council could ultimately issue a Section 114 notice, effectively declaring itself bankrupt.

A council report has warned: “The seriousness of the council’s financial position cannot be under-stated.”

UNISON has said it is on a “collision course” with the council and, in a statement, UNISON regional organiser Robin Symonds said: “Kirklees UNISON is making preparations to ballot members at Kirklees Council for strike action over the 250 proposed redundancies.

“We are currently running a consultative ballot to gauge the strength of feeling amongst members before we proceed to a formal ballot in line with branch policy. The early response has been encouraging with over four hundred votes cast in the first morning alone.

“The proposed job cuts will decimate local services and the council is yet to tell us which services will be affected or what jobs will be cut.

“They have ruled out voluntary redundancies and we are still waiting to find out what policies they intend to follow.

“The proposed redundancies are phase one of 750 redundancies that the council is planning. This is a very uncertain time for our members who deliver public services and those who rely on them.

“We are on a collision course as we prepare to fight the cuts.”

UNISON are holding a series of meetings to keep members updated. Prior to each meeting they hope to have a briefing from the council.

The meetings are on: August 30; September 11; September 25; and October 9. They run from 12noon-12.45pm and can be attended in person at the union offices in New North Parade, Huddersfield, or virtually via a link.