Thousands of public sector workers have been warned that their jobs are under threat as councils begin 90-day consultations on job losses, according to the GMB union.
The union states that a total of 87,374 posts are under threat of being made redundant at 107 councils across the UK.
The councils have given notice that they plan to delete vacant posts and seek volunteers for early retirement and redundancy. This has taken place just a few days before Christmas in order allow time for the stautory 90 days' notice councils have to give employees before the deadline for making budget cuts at the end of March.
However, the GMB told the BBC that some councils, including Northamptonshire County Council, had deliberately delayed sending out letters until after Christmas.
Brain Strutton, national secretary for public services at the GMB said: "The axe is now falling indiscriminately on people who played no part in causing the deficit but are expected to lose their job to pay for it.
"These are not town hall pen pushers but social workers, school dinner ladies, meals on wheels providers, refuse collections, home helps, youth workers, across the range of front-line council services that are being decimated."
He added that the loss of currently unfilled posts means that those being made redundant will have no other jobs to go to.
With the TUC reporting this week that almost a quarter of a million people in the UK have been unemployed for more than a year and warnings thatthe Government has 'no credible plan' to replace jobs, the outlook for many public sector workers will be bleak in the coming year.