WIGAN-based Keep Britain Tidy is axing more than two thirds of its workforce.
The national anti-litter campaigners – founded more than half a century ago – told shocked staff that 65 of the 112 employees are now facing redundancy.
It is believed that the organisation – which relies heavily on a Government grant for most of its funding – is the latest victims of on-going cuts.
And the remaining staff now fear that the organisation may quit Wigan altogether and move to smaller premises in Manchester.
Stunned staff heard the grim news at a mass meeting at Wigan Investerment Centre. The high-profile organisation famed for its clever ad campaigns has been based at Elizabeth House in Pottery Road for the past decade. Only recently the local MPs moved into the same building.
But they were also using accommodation at Trencherfield Mill for a number of years before that.
Its Waste Watch team, based in London, is funded separately so is largely unaffected by the bombshell.
A worker facing redundancy said today: “Morale is rock bottom, it has been for months. Everyone has lost complete faith and confidence.
“We were also told at the redundancy meeting that Keep Britain Tidy will be moving out of Wigan and into a central Manchester office.
“That will no doubt cost even more jobs in the near future as so many of the employees live in the Wigan borough.”
“We were completely Government-funded but the grant has been cut from £5m to £500,000 by April 2013 and we will be completely insolvent in 16 months or so unless we can find a new source of funding.”
A spokesman for Keep Britain Tidy said that, like all charities, it had been affected by the current economic conditions and the announcement of a 90 per cent reduction in the grant the organisation receives from the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).
A balance of its income comes from local government and the public sector, areas that have also faced significant cuts in their budgets.
She said: “It has become very clear that Keep Britain Tidy needs to become more focused on key areas to deliver our charitable purpose.
“It is against this background that Keep Britain Tidy has now announced proposals that we believe will help us to grow and thrive in the current financial climate.”
The workforce are not represented by a recognised union.
But she said that they were now consulting with staff over the possible reduction in numbers from more than 100 to less than 50 nationally.
No final decision has been taken on leaving Wigan, but the matter will be reconsidered at the break of the clause in their lease in 2013.