Teachers, NHS and job centres strike

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LECTURERS at Sheffield College, NHS workers and city-based Department for Work and Pensions and Home Office staff are set to join a national strike tomorrow in protest against proposed changes to their pensions.

Members of the University and College Union are taking action alongside civil servants’ union PCS and some members of Unite.

The day will also see protests by members of the police and prison officers’ trade unions - the Police Federation, NAPO and the POA.

Lecturers taking part are all members of the Teachers’ pension scheme, which saw changes imposed at the beginning of the month.

The UCU says the results will be that its members will have to work longer and pay more into their pension each month in return for a reduced package when they finally retire.

Similar plans are proposed for the civil service.

Staff across the UK are receiving reduced pay packets this month as the rise in their pension contributions takes effect.

A joint union rally is to take place at noon outside the Town Hall, with an evening meeting in the City Hall to follow at 6pm.

Sheffield College said some classes would not go ahead, though all scheduled exams would go ahead as normal.

There will be disruption at Job Centre branches and to some NHS services - although only health workers in the Unite union are involved.

No council workers are going on strike.

Sheffield College chief executive, Heather MacDonald, said: “All of our college campuses will stay open, so we can provide the fullest service possible in the circumstances. Some classes will nevertheless be affected.”

Mrs MacDonald said: “Students will be able to study in college if their classes are cancelled, as the learning resource centres, some classrooms, the refectories and children’s nurseries will be open.”

Hilary Chapman, chief nurse at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, said: “We are expecting minimal disruption because only one union is taking action.

“There are plans in place to keep a normal service wherever possible and any patients that we feel may be affected have already been notified.”

Doncaster, Rotherham and Barnsley colleges could also be affected, though all have said they will be open for business as usual.

Lecturers at Chesterfield College are meanwhile planning industrial action in a separate dispute over pay and redundancies.

Another East Midlands Trains drivers’ strike tomorrow: P17.