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Day of mass disruption when strikes hit Mansfield and Ashfield on Thursday

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Firefighters, teachers and council workers unions are set to unite for a day of strike action tomorrow over pay and pension disputes, which is expected to cause major disruption across the area.

Members of Nottinghamshire’s Fire Brigades Union (FBU) will walk out from 10am until 7pm over a proposals to increase the retirement age from 55 to 60 and force firefighters to take a fitness test in order remain on duty.

Sean McCallum, Secretary of Nottinghamshire FBU, referring to research which suggested it would be unsafe to expect firefighters to continue beyond the age of 55, said it was time Fire Minister Brandon Lewis took notice.

He added: “In Northern Ireland the government has offered the normal retirement age of 55. They have taken notice of the scientific evidence.

“This is nothing more than an ideological attack on trade unionism.”

The FBU has also announced another eight days of two-hour strike periods between 14th-21st July.

Said Mr McCallum: “The strike action is designed to cause the maximum amount of disruption.

“If the government has decided it is going to provide contingency crews they will find it difficult for a maximum of two hours.

“If Brandon Lewis is going to muck our members about we will cause disruption until he agrees to get round the table with us.”

Mr McCallum said he was sure contingency response times would be slower than the normal service and has urged the public to be extra vigilant during the walkouts.

As well as firefighters, local government workers, such as social workers and librarians will be walking out from midnight until midnight after only being offered a one per cent pay rise following a three-year pay freeze.

While a number of schools across the area will be closed due to a dispute with the government about pay, pensions and workload.

John Slater, Nottinghamshire County Council’s service director for education standards and inclusion, said: “We have been notified that a number of Nottinghamshire schools across the county are planning to close either fully or partially on 10th July.

“The decision to close a school is at the discretion of the headteacher, with the over-riding consideration being the health and safety of pupils.

“It must be stressed that this is not a dispute with the local authority, but part of a rolling national dispute with the Secretary of State for Education about protecting pay, pensions and working conditions and as a result there is little we can do as a council to resolve it.”

Sherwood MP Mark Spencer said: “We need to recognise the commitment of these public workers but I think we have to look at the position the government finds itself in due to the massive economic crisis that the last government oversaw. Lots of people in the private sector have not had a pay rise in years - and they are under enormous pressure too.

“People from across the public and private sector have to share the burden of the economic mess this government has inherited.”

Mr Spencer said if pay rises were to increase there would have to be redundancies.

He added: “Being a parent myself, I am lucky that my wife runs her own business and can be flexible with her hours, but others are not in that position. They have to take the day off work and lose a day’s pay in order to be look after their child.

“So there are many who have not had a pay rise for five years and have to lose a day’s pay because their kids are not at school.”

Further fire strikes will take place on the following days:

l 14th July, between 6am–8am and 5pm–7pm

l 15th July, between 6am–8am and 5pm–7pm

l 16th July, between 6am–8am and 5pm–7pm

l 17th July, between 6am–8am and 5pm–7pm

l 18th July, between 6am–8am and 11am–1pm and 11am-1pm on 19 July

l 20th July, between 11pm–1pm and 7pm-9pm

l 21st July, between 6am–8am and 5pm–7pm

Nottinghamshire County Council is providing a live update of all planned school closures.

To find out if your child’s school will be closed CLICK HERE

 

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