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County braced for walk-outs
Updated 9:08am Thursday 10th July 2014 in News
SCHOOLS will shut, bins will go unemptied, libraries will close, and courts will be disrupted as local government grinds to a halt today.
Public sector employees in Hampshire will be taking part in a joint day of action leading to an estimated one million workers walking out across the country.
It will mean key local government services will be disrupted members of some of the biggest unions including Unison, unite and the GMB refuse to work in protest at pay, conditions and ongoing cuts to budgets.
Out with them will be members of the National Union of Teachers whose actions have led to more than 60 schools in Hampshire being closed to all or some of their pupils.
Members of the Fire Brigade Union (FBU) will also stand on the picket lines in protest at pension cuts and pay.
Hampshire Fire and Rescue is predicting its workforce will be halved as a result, impacting on response time to emergency incidents between 10am and 7pm when their nine-hour strike is staged.
Transport for London workers would also join the action with members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport Union taking part in the strikes. Job centres and driving test centres could be affected.
The county’s courts could see cases adjourned as a result of the walkout by the Public and Commercial Services Union, who also have members at the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.
The main impact will be felt across local government however as social care, bin collections, parking services and burials all face significant disruption while Southampton City Council has confirmed that all libraries in the city will be closed however, a spokesman said it was difficult to predict the extent of the disruption as workers were not required to tell the authority of their intention to strike.
Eastleigh Borough Council leader Keith House said they expected some disruption to waste collections. He said householders should put out their bins as usual and they would be collected as soon as possible.
Unions are remaining defiant over the action, with one branding a one per cent pay offer to their members an insult.
Unite is seeking a £1 per hour increase in pay for the council workforce. Regional officer Ian Woodland said: “The depth of feeling on the pay issue is reinforced by the fact that local government unions, GMB and Unison, and members of the National Union of Teachers are all taking action.”
Striking teachers will meet for a rally at 11.30am at Watts Park in Southampton before joining with public sector colleagues outside the Civic Centre. Pickets are also being staged outside council buildings across Hampshire.