Pendle public sector workers join national strike

Nelson Town Hall.'Photo Ben Parsons
Nelson Town Hall.'Photo Ben Parsons

Public sector workers across Pendle are today taking strike action over low pay, pensions and working conditions.

The industrial action, which is said to be the “biggest strike for years”, has been called by unions including Unison, Unite and GMB.

In Nelson, Hendon Brook School, St Philip’s Primary School and St John Southworth Primary School are closed, while there is a part closure at Walverden Primary School.

Trawden Forest Primary School will also be shut for the day, and part of Earby Springfield Primary School will be partly affected.

Pendle Council have also said that the majority of services, including refuse and recycling services, will be unavailable. But it is believed negotiations have been made with the unions on which staff can be available for health and safety reasons.

Chief Executive Stephen Barnes said: “Services delivered by our partner Liberata, such as our contact centre and the markets, will be available as normal and some building, including our Contact Pendle Centre in Nelson’s Number One Market Street will be open.

“Although our contact centre will be taking telephone calls, there may be a delay in us providing a response, depending on the nature of the enquiry. People can visit our website”

According to unions “successive years of pay freezes and pay caps have left the pay and pensions value of council and school support staff almost 20% down in real terms in just four years”.

John Lewis, UNISON North West’s head of local government said: “A decent pay rise for local government and school support staff is long overdue. People are really struggling on poverty pay. A pay rise is affordable and much of the cost would be recouped in higher tax revenues and lower benefit payments. A pay rise would also benefit local economies as it would boost spending in local shops.

“People don’t go on strike lightly but our members see no alternative to taking action now.”

And Brian Strutton, GMB National Secretary, added: “GMB members have spoken loud and clear. They want a decent pay rise.

“We have tried sensible discussions, we’ve sought to negotiate reasonably, we’ve said we are willing to accept ACAS arbitration rather than go on strike - but to everything we’ve tried the employers have said no. So we have no choice.”

Tweet your strike pictures to @pendlenews