Talks under way as strike date beckons
5:30am Tuesday 8th July 2014 in By Mike Benke, @Michael_Benke
PREPARATIONS are being made ahead of Thursday’s day of strike action, when a variety of unions will be walking out over rows with the Government.
Firefighters, teachers, local government workers and civil servants will all be taking industrial action on the day.
Unite, Unison, GMB, NUT and the FBU are all in disagreement with the Government on a range of issues from working conditions to pay deals.
The council is in negotiations with the unions over which services will be protected from the action as they are seen as too important to close.
But services such as the Cheney Manor recycling centre and libraries may be forced to shut for the day.
Unions have rejected a pay offer from the Government and want to see something more in line with the rate of inflation. Hundreds of workers could walk out after rejecting a pay rise of between 1.25 per cent and 4.66 per cent.
Schools are also facing disruption as members of the NUT are walking out in a dispute over pay and working conditions. They are in a long-running dispute with Education Secretary Michael Gove over reforms to schools.
As members of unions do not need to give advance warning of their intentions, many schools do not know the level of disruption but some have already made the decision to close.
Isambard School wrote to parents last week saying: “Regulation dictates that schools are unable to ask teachers who are not striking to cover the classes of those teachers who are striking.
“In addition, supply teachers who are members of the NUT are not making themselves available for cover for teachers on strike. The decision has therefore been made to close the school to students on Thursday, July 10.
“While Isambard School understands the impact this will have on its parents/carers in terms of childcare in addition to the impact it will have on your child’s education, it equally recognises teachers’ right to take strike action.”
Firefighters in the FBU are also carrying out eight days of action starting next week, which will involve several hours in the morning and evening in a long-running row over pensions. Response times may be hit but Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service has said it will answer all 999 calls.
Deputy chief fire officer John Aldridge said: “As on previous occasions, we will have reduced resources during these strike periods. We will respond to 999 calls, but it may take us a little longer than usual to arrive. On July 10, we will also have some corporate staff who are members of Unison out on strike, and we have plans in place to manage that impact as well.”
The action will also be taken by some driving test instructors. Anyone who does have a test booked is being advised to arrive for the test and if it is cancelled the student will be eligible for compensation.
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