Unions prepare for day of strike action

Bromsgrove Advertiser: Unions prepare for day of strike action Unions prepare for day of strike action

PUBLIC sector workers from Bromsgrove and Droitwich will be taking part in a day of strike action on Thursday, July 10.

The workers will be joining an estimated two million nationally expected to be involved in the walkout, which has been named the "Day of Action".

The one-day strike is part of a series of disputes between unions and the Government over pay, pensions and spending cuts.

Members of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) are taking part, leading to some schools being closed or partially closed.

Aston Fields Middle, Catshill Middle and Fairfield First schools will be closed for the day, while North Bromsgrove High School will only be open to sixth formers.

Chadsgrove School and Specialist Sports College, Rigby Hall School, and Westacre Middle School in Droitwich, will be partially closed.

The union's general secretary, Christine Blower, has said her members have no choice than to take part in the industial action, while the Department for Education has said strikes would damage the profession's reputation.

Members of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) are also taking part in the walkout - the latest in a long series of strikes.

The FBU members are striking at what they consider to be unfair pay and pension arrangements - as the Government is proposing to increase the retirement age from 55 to 60, with pensions halved for those choosing to retire before their 60th birthday.

The FBU has claimed firefighters in their late 50s may not be fit enough to effectively carry out their jobs, putting both themselves and others at risk.

The union also recently launched a legal challenge to the Government’s proposals, claiming it amounts to age discrimination.

FBU general secretary Matt Wrack said the Government was “not listening” to its concerns.

“The fact this Government has united so many workers to take strike action against them is a testament to the failure of their policies,” he said.

“They are destroying our public services and wrecking the lives of millions.

“If they won’t listen and won’t negotiate then this is the result — and they should face more of the same if necessary.”

Fire minister Brandon Lewis has said public safety remains the primary focus, and a solution could be reached.

He added the strike would serve to damage firefighters good standing with the public.

The Day of Action has the potential to be the biggest strike nationally since 2010.

Other unions involved include the Public and Commercial Services union and council and school support workers in the GMB and Unison.

Among the council workers striking will be carers, social workers, refuse collectors, street cleaners and teaching assistants.

Jim Price, UNISON Worcestershire county branch secretary, said: "Council workers have kept on going in the face of four years of draconian Government cuts to keep local services in Worcestershire running.

“Taking strike action is never easy but our members are sending a clear message to the Government that they have had enough. Low paid women make up the backbone of most local councils and they deserve to be paid a decent wage."

For more details on the school strikes visit the county council's website, worcestershire.gov.uk.

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