Public sector strike brings day of disruption for residents

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Public services around Mansfield and Ashfield are facing widespread disruption today as public service workers strike over pay and other concerns.

Mansfield District Council is reporting that its Civic Centre receptions are closed to the public, while its telephone contact centre is only offering a limited service.

NMAC12-0449-3''Mansfield District Council Brown Bin

NMAC12-0449-3''Mansfield District Council Brown Bin

Ashfield district Council’s officers will be closed today due to the industrial action, with residents being asked to only contact the authority in emergencies.

Both authorities have confirmed that no bins will be collected today, although measures are in place to ensure rubbish is taken away.

In a statement on its website, Mansfield District Council states that no blue or brown bin collections will take place today, but the authority will take additional recyclable waste from residents on their next scheduled collection in two weeks time.

“One bin load of bagged side waste for brown bins and one bin load of side waste in cardboard boxes or recyclable bags for blue bins will be collected on the next scheduled collection day,” the statement reads.

Ashfield District Council will be organising an additional collection on Saturday 12th July for residents affected by today’s strike, with further ‘side-waste’ collections planned for 24th July.

Trade waste is also not being collected, but both authorities have pledge to make up the shortfall with future collections.

The action – part of a national one-day walkout which could be the biggest since the General Strike of 1926 - was agreed by members of six public sector unions after they voted to join the revolt in protest at a range of issues, including “attacks” on pay and pensions and increased workloads.

Many schools are also reporting closure or disruption during the one-day stoppage.

According to Nottinghamshire County Council, Annesley Primary and Nursery, Annie Holgate Infants and Nursery, Asquith Primary, Bagthorpe Primary, Beardall Street Primary, Beech Hill Special School, Bracken Hill Special School, Brierley Forest Primary, Croft Primary, Eastlands Junior, Farmilo Primary, Forest Glade Primary, Fountaindale Special School, Heathlands Primary, Hillocks Primary, Holly Hill Primary, Holy Cross Primary Catholic Voluntary Academy, King Edward Primary, Kirkby College, Leen Mills Primary, Meden School, Morven Park Primary, Netherfield Infants, Nettleworth Infants, Oak Tree Lane Primary, Orchard Primary, Peafield Lane Academy, Priestsic Primary, Redgate Special School, Robin Hood Primary, St Andrew’s CE Primary, St Edmund’s CE Primary, St. Mary’s CE Primary, Sutton Community Academy, and Underwood CE Primary are all reporting disruption or closure.

Walkden Street Car Park is closed and the Shopmobility Service is not available at Walkden Street or the bus station.

Season ticket holders at Walkden Street car park can use other council long stay car parks. All other Council car parks remain open as normal.

Unison – which represents local Government workers including lollipop men and women, social workers and street cleaners – says its members are angry after the Government offered them a one per cent pay rise following three years of no wage increases.

A union spokesman told Chad: ““Our members provide essential services and after all these years we deserve a decent pay rise. For many local Government and school support workers, pay is back to the level of the 1990s.”

Members of the National Union of Teachers (NUT), meanwhile, have concerns about their “heavy” workloads.

Christine Blower, NUT general secretary, said: “Strike action is a last resort for teachers and we deeply regret the disruption it causes parents and pupils.

“For teachers, performance-related pay, working until 68 for a full pension and heavy workload for 60 hours a week is unsustainable.

“Teaching is one of the best jobs in the world but is being made one of the worst under education secretary Michael Gove and the Coalition Government.

“It is time they listened,” she added.

Members of the Fire Brigades’ Union (FBU) will down tools from 10am until 7pm as part of their long-running and bitter dispute with the Government.

Ministers plan to raise the retirement age for firefighters from 55 to 60 and increase their pension contributions.

But the FBU claims many firefighters will not be able to maintain fitness standards into their late 50s, forcing them to leave the service and endangering the public.

Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said: “The Government must realise that firefighters cannot accept proposals which would have such devastating consequences for their futures, their families’ futures — and the future of the fire and rescue service itself.”

The Government said it will “not budge” on its changes to pay and pensions for public sector workers – insisting they have a good deal.

Cabinet minister Francis Maude said it would be “totally irresponsible” to reverse changes which made pay and pensions “affordable and sustainable”.