The future of 14 community daycare nurseries across Birmingham is in doubt – with union bosses claiming proposed closures have left staff “devastated”.
Birmingham City Council is debating whether or not to close the sites at a meeting this afternoon (November 7th).
But the GMB union, which represents the nursery workers, has criticised the council for a lack of notice over potential closures.
Any decision to shut them would come less than two years after the authority had agreed to put forward plans to make them self-sustainable.
Gill Ogilvie, GMB Regional Officer, said: “GMB members are absolutely devastated by this outrageous decision.
“They led us to believe there were plans in place to make the nurseries sustainable, leading to fewer closures and a less devastating impact on the centres and the children. However, it appears that the council has basically lied to us yet again and now appear set on closing these vital nurseries.
“The announcement makes no sense – the funding is provided by Government and the employees are already very low paid, yet the council seem happy to sacrifice the mainly female workforce and children over the collection of waste from our streets.
“The GMB is calling on the council to stop this nonsense before any further plans are made and sit down with the unions and discuss a way forward.”
The GMB believes closure would cost cost £2.5 million in redundancy pay for 120 employees and potential clawbacks on buildings at a time when there is a general shortage of services for working parents.
The nurseries provide free childcare for children aged between two and four, and also provide social care plans for children who are deemed at risk within society.
A representative for Birmingham City Council said: “These closures aren’t definite yet.
“We are looking into it because there aren’t enough children attending these nurseries, so they are running up debts of about £250,000.
“There are also other providers, so we don’t feel as though this service is something the council needs to provide any more.”