THE first Blackburn with Darwen council staff who face losing their jobs because of cuts were this weekend warned they were ‘at potential risk of redundancy’.

The group, including those working with vulnerable adults and children, will be told that a review of staffing in their services mean their posts could be axed as part of the borough’s £30 million cuts programme.

There will be a 90-day consultation process before the final restructuring proposals and job losses in each area are agreed.

Then some staff will be told they are being made redundant and others told to reapply for fewer posts.

Council chiefs have already warned that 500 out of the borough’s 2,800 staff will have to go to achieve the savings and few of the job losses can be achieved by early retirement and voluntary redundancy.

News of the first wave of notifications to staff that they were “at potentially at risk of redundancy” were being sent out was revealed by borough resources boss Andy Kay to the full council forum meeting on Thursday discussing the cuts package.

In the next few weeks, hundreds more staff will receive similar notices as executive members of the council, service managers and unions work through the full range of council services looking for staff and cost savings.

Not all those who receive the warning will lose their jobs and each employee directly affected will be given the chance to explore options other than compulsory redundancy, including redeployment.

Those who are to be made redundant or required to reapply for their jobs will be formally notified at the end of the 90 day consultation process.

Council leader Kate Hollern said: “This is a heart-beaking process.

“Telling people who want to work, who deliver much needed services, they are losing their jobs seems so unfair and unnecessary.

“We are putting people on benefits and services will suffer.

“This is not what I came into Labour politics to do but I have no choice.”

Ros Shepherd, vice-chair of the borough’s joint trade unions, said: “People are worried about their future and also the impact of these massive cuts on services. We continue to be closely involved with how the changes are being managed and to work towards securing as many jobs as possible.”