Sheffield faces days of strike action

Council workers, teachers, fire service and crew in Sheffield during a previous day of strike action.
Council workers, teachers, fire service and crew in Sheffield during a previous day of strike action.
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On Monday, a three-day co-ordinated strike for public sector workers to demand a ‘decent pay rise’ will start with health workers, including nurses, midwives, laboratory and cleaning staff set to take part.

Local Government staff, including school support workers but not teachers, are taking action on Tuesday and civil service staff on Wednesday.

John Campbell, secretary for the Unison branch at Northern General Hospital, said: “For health staff this is a last resort.

“Staff have not had a significant pay rise for years – they have decided they’ve got to stand up and say enough is enough.

“Staff in caring professions are there to support patients so they don’t want to strike.

“It is over 30 years since health workers have taken industrial action nationally.”

Unison – which has 7,000 health workers in its Sheffield branch – is to stage a rally outside the Northern General Hospital between 7am and 11am on Monday.

They will also take two days of action short of a strike on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Mr Campbell said there would be disruption but unions had worked with the hospital trust to ensure it was ‘minimised’. Areas such as A&E, critical and intensive care would be fully staffed.

He added: “It is not a dispute against Sheffield Teaching Hospitals but a national one against the coalition Government.”

The national co-ordinated ‘fightback’ from unions is against pay cuts, freezes and falls in real wages.

Leaders say the offer of a ‘paltry’ one per cent and no further talks have led to the campaign. A similar day of action saw hundreds march through the city centre in July.

The Unison city of Sheffield branch is co-ordinating a march through Sheffield city centre on Tuesday, October 14.

Jon Mordecai, chairman of the branch, said council departments would be disrupted.

He added: “What this is about is that Britain needs a pay rise.

“There are probably 3,500 local government workers that are eligible to go on strike in Sheffield – how many turn up is a different matter.”

Several hundred civil service workers are expected to strike in the second day of action.

Disruption to waste recycling centres, schools and council services is likely during the strike action.

Two household waste centres had to close on Monday in the last strike by workers employed by The Green Company, a sub-contractor to Veolia on behalf of Sheffield Council.

Veolia said it was working to keep its sites open during the next four days but urged residents to check www.veolia.co.uk or call 0114 2734567/

The GMB union says workers want a ‘fair share’ of money allocated to the service with premium 
pay for weekend working and a ‘decent toilet in the winter’.

Sheffield Council said it was currently ‘assessing the impact’ strike action would have across services.

The authority is making arrangements to provide essential services on Tuesday, October 14, and minimise disruption, a spokesman said. It is not yet known if any schools will close.

The council spokesman added: “Headteachers will make a full assessment of the potential risk to services as a result of the proposed industrial action that includes school support staff only.

“The strike does not include teachers, who will be expected to attend work as normal.

“We have written to all schools and requested that they advise the local authority, parents and carers about any intention to be closed or partially closed, at the earliest opportunity.”

Civil service union PCS said services such as Job Centres in Sheffield would be affected.

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