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Thousands to strike in Sheffield on Thursday

Tecahers rally in Barker's Pool, Sheffield, yesterday (26 March 2014).

Tecahers rally in Barker's Pool, Sheffield, yesterday (26 March 2014).

  • by Ellen Beardmore Political Reporter
 

A joint strike will see thousands of workers across South YorkSHIRE schools, councils and fire stations walk out on Thursday.

The action is part of a national strike over pay and involves members of Unison, Unite, GMB, The National Union of Teachers and The Fire Brigades Union.

Chris Jenkinson, Yorkshire head of local government for Unison, said the union was striking after four years of Government pay freezes. A pay rise of one per cent, which is below inflation, has been offered this year.

He said: “Our members are suffering real hardship because their already low pay has been shrunk by the Government’s attack on public sector funding.

“It takes a great deal for these dedicated public servants to strike but they are now desperate and at the end of their tether.

“They struggle more each year to meet the very basic costs of food, housing, gas and electricity.

Many schools are expected to close in Sheffield as a result of the strike and other services will be disrupted.

Teachers are striking over pension changes, excessive workloads and bureacracy as well as in defence of performance related pay.

Toby Mallinson, joint Sheffield NUT division secretary said; “In my job I see ever increasing numbers of experienced and excellent teachers and support assistants leaving their professions due to excessive workload, workplace pressures and redundancy.

“They are likely to be joined by those deciding to leave after suffering pay cuts as performance related pay is brought in.”

Bosses at South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue, which will have a ‘severely depleted’ service during the strike, are urging business owners to keep 999 calls low.

Firefighters will be on strike from 10am to 7pm.

Chief Fire Officer James Courtney, said: “During the strike, our emergency response service is going to be severely reduced, so we’ll only be attending incidents that are genuinely life threatening. “Businesses can help us by reducing number of unnecessary false alarms, for example by testing their systems are working properly.

“The fire service also often gets called to businesses to help release people from stuck or broken down lifts, but building owners should take steps now to make sure lifts are working properly and that people know what to do if they do get stuck.”

Barnsley Council said that all libraries apart from Penistone and Priory Library would be closed and there would be no waste or recycling collections on Thursday.

North East Derbyshire District Council is closing several buildings to the public, including the Council House on Saltergate, Chesterfield, Eckington Swimming Pool and Dronfield Sports Centre.

For the latest information on school closures, and alternative waste arrangements, visit www.barnsley.gov.uk.

Dronfield and Eckington housing offices will also shut and some refuse services will be affected.

On Thursday Sheffield strikers will gather at Devonshire Green from 11am before marching around the city centre and rallying in Barkers Pool from 12.30pm.

In Rotherham a rally is to be held outside the main Riverside Office in the town centre from 11am.

 

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