Public sector strike brings day of disruption for residents

editorial image

Public services around Hucknall and Bulwell are facing widespread disruption today as public service workers strike over pay and other concerns.

Ashfield District Council’s officers will be closed today due to the industrial action, with residents being asked to only contact the authority in emergencies.

Nottingham City Council is also reporting widespread disruption to services, with closures to schools, libraries, children’s centres and leisure centres reported across the city.

However, Gedling Borough Council is reporting many essential services running as normal, but says that they have been impacted by striking staff.

Both Ashfield and Nottingham City have confirmed that no bins will be collected today, although measures are in place to ensure rubbish is taken away in the days ahead.

Ashfield District Council will be organising an additional collection on Saturday 12th July for residents affected by today’s strike, with further ‘side-waste’ collections planned for 24th July.

In Nottingham City, residents who were due a bin collection today are being told to leave bins out and they will be collected over the next few days.

Gedling Borough Council says that their bins are being collected as normal today and its customer service department is also operating as normal.

Trade waste is also not being collected in Nottingham and Ashfield, but both authorities have pledge to make up the shortfall with future collections.

The action – part of a national one-day walkout which could be the biggest since the General Strike of 1926 - was agreed by members of six public sector unions after they voted to join the revolt in protest at a range of issues, including “attacks” on pay and pensions and increased workloads.

Many schools are also reporting closure or disruption during the one-day stoppage.

In Nottingham City, Bulwell St Mary’s Primary and Nursery School, Crabtree Farm Primary School, Hempshill Hall Primary School, Snape Wood Primary and Nursery School, and Springfield Primary School are all reporting either disruption or closure due to the industrial action.

Bulwell Forest Children’ Centre is also closed and Nottinghamshire County Council are reporting widespread school closures around Gedling and Ashfield.

Unison – which represents local Government workers including lollipop men and women, social workers and street cleaners – says its members are angry after the Government offered them a one per cent pay rise following three years of no wage increases.

A union spokesman told Chad: ““Our members provide essential services and after all these years we deserve a decent pay rise. For many local Government and school support workers, pay is back to the level of the 1990s.”

Members of the National Union of Teachers (NUT), meanwhile, have concerns about their “heavy” workloads.

Christine Blower, NUT general secretary, said: “Strike action is a last resort for teachers and we deeply regret the disruption it causes parents and pupils.

“For teachers, performance-related pay, working until 68 for a full pension and heavy workload for 60 hours a week is unsustainable.

“Teaching is one of the best jobs in the world but is being made one of the worst under education secretary Michael Gove and the Coalition Government.

“It is time they listened,” she added.

Members of the Fire Brigades’ Union (FBU) will down tools from 10am until 7pm as part of their long-running and bitter dispute with the Government.

Ministers plan to raise the retirement age for firefighters from 55 to 60 and increase their pension contributions.

But the FBU claims many firefighters will not be able to maintain fitness standards into their late 50s, forcing them to leave the service and endangering the public.

Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said: “The Government must realise that firefighters cannot accept proposals which would have such devastating consequences for their futures, their families’ futures — and the future of the fire and rescue service itself.”

The Government said it will “not budge” on its changes to pay and pensions for public sector workers – insisting they have a good deal.

Cabinet minister Francis Maude said it would be “totally irresponsible” to reverse changes which made pay and pensions “affordable and sustainable”.