Bristol City Council will axe up to 1,000 jobs to save money - a sixth of its full time work force.
The cuts come as the authority aims to save £29 million from its budget this year.
City mayor Marvin Rees said he had "inherited a huge financial challenge" which had grown increasingly in the past couple of months.
He added his only option to save the money was to cut jobs.
A voluntary severance scheme has now been launched by the council and a period of formal consultation is taking place.
He said he would ensure the council continue to maintain the " life-and-limb services" while improving people's lives with "the resources I've got."
Any staff leaving voluntarily will finish work by the end of September.
Further plans for the council’s budget from April 2017 – April 2020 will be published in the autumn for public consultation ahead of a new Medium Term Financial Plan being put to Full Council in February 2017.