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Strike action disruption

County Hall, Morpeth, headquarters for Northumberland County Council.

County Hall, Morpeth, headquarters for Northumberland County Council.

More than a million public sector workers including council staff, teachers, firefighters and civil servants are expected to take part in a strike on Thursday.

The strike has been called due to several issues including pay and Government changes to pensions and working conditions.

Northumberland County Council is maintaining critical services to the public, but there will be an impact on usual, day-to-day operations.

Some schools in Northumberland will be closed for the day but all parents should have been contacted by the individual school. If parents are in any doubt they should contact their child’s school for further information.

Berwick Middle and first schools in Wooler, Ellingham and Prior Park are closed. Berwick Academy is partially open.

More information on current school closures is available in the school’s section on the Northumberland County Council’s website: http://www.northumberland.gov.uk/default.aspx?page=438

All calls to the council should be made via local numbers or 0845 600 6400 or via email at ask@northumberland.gov.uk but customers may experience some delays.

County Hall in Morpeth will be open, as will the customer services centre at Wansbeck Square in Ashington. Alnwick, Bedlington, Hexham and Berwick customer services should be open but due to the nature of strike action this cannot be guaranteed.

Other council buildings and services may be affected and a number of libraries have already confirmed closure – Cramlington, Hirst, Lynemouth, Morpeth and Morpeth Mobile Library.

Services such as bin collections may also be affected on the day of the strike.

Household waste recovery centres will be open as normal.

Unison’s Ian Fleming, joint branch secretary, Northumberland branch said: “It’s with a heavy heart that we’re taking this action in concert with other unions and workers across the country but we feel we’ve no choice.

“Our wages are falling, prices are going up and we feel local government is paying for the criminal mistakes of the banking industry.

“Local government workers keep services going day in day out, despite savage government cuts. Those of us left are doing far more for far less. We want to send a clear message that our members deserve much better.”

The strike follows anger at a three-year pay freeze and a pay cut last year and a 1% pay offer which effectively means another pay cut. Unison are pointing to cost of living increases of 2.5% and the effects of the pay freeze which has meant wages have fallen by 20% since 2010.

Mr Fleming added: “While the government squeeze ordinary people, the banking industry is back to paying bumper bonuses. Local government workers keep services going day in day out, despite savage government cuts and we look after the elderly, the vulnerable – those who need it most. Almost half a million of our jobs have gone nationally.”

 

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