5,000 Pendle public sector workers expected to strike

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MORE than 5,000 public sector workers in Pendle are expected to take part in Wednesday’s one-day strike in protest at the Government’s proposed reforms.

Hospitals, health centres, schools and colleges and Pendle Council will all be affected, as will police support staff, social services and benefits offices.

The strike has been called by a number of trade unions as the Government seeks to increase the retirement age and increase employee contributions to pensions.

And Unison regional officer Tim Ellis said there would be widespread disruption in Pendle.

Pendle Community Hospital, Yarnspinners Health Centre, Nelson and Colne Health Centre are likely to be affected, many schools are likely to close as teachers and headteachers join the strike and the stoppage is also likely to have some impact at Nelson and Colne College and the University of Central Lancashire’s Burnley campus, he said.

“We are being asked to pay more, work longer and get less,” said Mr Ellis. “The proposals are deplorable, appalling and there will be widespread action.”

The likely effects of the strike on Pendle Council services were outlined to members of the authority’s Executive on Thursday night.

Chief Executive Mr Stephen Barnes told the Executive town halls and council offices would be closed to the public, but any staff who wished to work would be able to do so.

There will also be a small number of staff on duty for health and safety reasons, such as a building control officer.

Lunch clubs in Trawden and Railway Street, Nelson, will operate as normal, and it is hoped to open Nelson and Colne market halls, as well as Colne open market, as usual.

The stoppage would cause disruption to services such as refuse collection, with people whose grey bins are normally emptied on Wednesday asked to put them out for Thursday or Friday collection, while those whose brown and green bins are emptied on Wednesdays will have a collection on December 14th instead.

Clinical waste and bulky household waste collections will be provided as normal by outside contractors.

Mr Barnes said: “It is up to individuals whether they choose to cross picket lines. We ask them to use their judgement.

“If they feel victimised or threatened, they should report the matter to myself or the police.”

An emergency telephone number, 661999, will be available during office hours.