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Hundreds in Malvern expected to strike over pay

Malvern Editorial 10th Jul, 2014 Updated: 20th Oct, 2016

TEACHERS, firefighters and carers will be among those set to join Thursday’s nationwide walkout over pay.

Up to two million people could be out on strike with a number of unions backing the action which will lead to school closures and picket lines across the county.

Carers, social workers, refuse collectors, street cleaners and teaching assistants will be among thousands of district and county council staff taking part.

Jim Price, branch secretary at UNISON in Worcestershire, said: “Council workers have kept on going in the face of four years of draconian Government cuts to keep local services in Worcestershire running. They care for our elderly and our vulnerable, keep our streets clean and educate and look after our children.

“They also face the daily threat of privatisation or redundancy. They deserve better treatment than they have had at the hands of this Government.

“Taking strike action is never easy but our members are sending a clear message to the Government that they have had enough.”

Malvern Hills District Councillor Julian Roskams, leader of the authority’s Democratic group, argued the situation had not been helped in town after the council had voted to increase members’ allowances earlier this year – seeing substantial hikes for the two council leaders.

He added: “While strike action should always be seen as a last resort, politicians locally and nationally who have recently voted themselves large pay rises are in no position to criticise public sector workers reluctantly taking action.

Andy Baldwin, the council’s head of resources, said: “We’re aware of the strike action and the usual measures will be put in place to reduce the impact on services.

“Exact numbers of those people intending to strike aren’t known but previous strikes have had little impact upon services.”

More than 1,000 civil servants from the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) will also be taking part in the strike which will affect Government departments including tax and revenue offices, Job Centres, benefit offices, courts and driving test centres.

And Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service (HWFRS) has urged the public to take extra care during the day of action when there will be a reduced service.

Adrian Elliott, Group Commander of HWFRS, said: “During the firefighter strikes, we want people to be clear about what to do in the event of a fire. The most important point they need to know is that they will still get an emergency response and they should not be tempted to tackle fires themselves.

“Not all of our firefighters are members of the Fire Brigades Union which means some stations will be working normally but people should be aware that it may take us a little longer to respond to calls in some instances.”

A county council spokeswoman added: “In these situations, we always put contingency plans in place to ensure, as far as possible, essential services can continue to be provided.”

Visit www.worcestershire.gov.uk for updates on services affected.

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