Walkouts disrupt raft of council services

Public sector unions strike rally
Public sector unions strike rally

WALKOUTS caused services to grind to a halt as thousands of workers took part in a day of strikes.

Nearly 1,500 council workers, up-to 900 school based staff and well over 1,000 teachers in Calderdale protested over changes to pensions.

Hospitals, courts, benefit offices and other Government services were also affected by the mass walk out.

Hundreds of pupils had the day off in Brighouse as Bailiff Bridge Primary, Brighouse High School, Carr Green Primary, Castlefields Infant, Field Lane Primary, Hipperholme and Lightcliffe High, Lightcliffe CofE Primary, Longroyde Junior, St Andrew’s Infant, St Andrew’s Junior, St Chad’s CE Primary, St Josephs RC Primary, Woodhouse Primary, and Withinfields Primary all closed for the day.

Cliffe Hill Community Primary School was partly closed.

Council services were also disrupted although several buildings offered a limited service.

Brighouse, Rastrick and libraries in the area were closed for the strike action along with the Smith Art Gallery.

Access buses run by Calderdale and Ambulance services were disrupted as well.

Public sector workers are being asked to pay 50 per cent more of their pensions, work longer and get a smaller pension.

Unions claim cutting public sector pensions will make more pensioners poorer and put the cost of supporting them on the State and taxpayers.

About 400 protesters gathered outside Halifax Town Hall yesterday to hear a range of trades union representatives condemn the Governments planned pension reforms.

Keith Williamson, representing one of the biggest unions, Unison, said that despite the widespread support yesterday, he did not think a single day of action would be enough.

“I believe it is going to require sustained action to persuade the Government move on this,” he said.

“Increasing our pension contributions is a tax on low paid workers and it is going to pay off the greedy bankers who put us in this mess in the first place.”

Gary Barker of the GMB union said the Government was intent on pitting the public sector against the private sector. “We have to stand together for what’s right.”