UNION leaders fear pupil truancy will become a bigger problem in Kirklees because of plans to change a social work service.
Officials of Unison claim Kirklees Council plans to downgrade the Education Social Work Service, which provides staff to look after schoolchildren and young people.
They fear jobs are to be cut and that experienced staff will quit.
But the authority insists the needs of vulnerable people will be put first.
Council proposals to re-organise the service have now been put to the union for consultation.
Unison spokesman Mike Forster said: “At a time when the national and local truancy rates are either stagnant or beginning to rise, we are very disappointed in the council’s proposals to downgrade the service.
“The council plans to cut the equivalent of nine senior posts from the service, to be replaced by lower paid and unqualified staff.
“They also want to do away with a qualified Social Work Service in Kirklees which we believe will dilute the service currently provided to schools, young people and their families.
“The council is quite right to value the work of its staff but here we have an example of high-handed cuts which will disadvantage some of the most vulnerable young people.
“This is a huge change to the service which will reduce quality by degrading the workers and introducing a lower paid tier of workers.”
In a statement, Kirklees Council’s Head of Localities, Karen Worrall said: “The Attendance and Truancy Service is being reviewed and the council is currently discussing the outcome with the unions.
“The service is not being cut but changes are made to ensure that the needs of our most vulnerable children and families are met.
“We hope that the outcome of the review will be a strengthening of the service.”