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Saturday, 25 October 2014

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Union members get set for South Cumbria strike

UNION members in South Cumbria are preparing for a huge strike set to involve more than a million council workers, teachers, civil servants and firefighters nationwide.
Click here to see the list of schools affected by the strikes

The walkouts tomorrow follow bitter disputes with the government over pay, pensions and spending cuts.

A variety of services across the county are expected to be affected, but the district councils and the county authority have promised they will operate as normally as possible.

Unison is leading the industrial action and claims successive years of pay freezes and pay caps have left the pay and pensions value of council and school support staff almost 20 per cent down in real terms in four years.

Cumbria Unison branch convenor Paul Lloyd said: “The majority of our members are low-paid female workers who have all had a really difficult time during austerity and bore the brunt of it.

“They’re working harder; there are less people working for the county council, they are covering jobs for people no longer there and they deserve a decent pay rise.”

Chris Brooksbank, National Union of Teachers’ Furness secretary, said: “It’s a dispute not only about pensions and pay, but also about workload and changes to curriculum and just everything that’s going on at the moment. It’s breaking up everything that’s been set up over the last 50 years and that seems to be what the government wants to do.”

Government Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude condemned the strikes and added: “These strikes are based on ballots which are either with extremely low turnouts or, in some cases, with no recent ballot at all.

“The only teachers’ union calling a strike, the NUT, is relying on a mandate in a ballot that was called nearly two years ago. Taking action, which, if it is effective, is going to damage the interests of children and a load of hard-working parents who just want to be able to go to work that day – it is really very irresponsible.”

A county council spokesman said: “Our priority is to continue to deliver services to those who need them and to protect the vulnerable throughout this time. The council has robust contingency plans in place to maximise service continuity and backup plans are already in place.”

Schools
CUMBRIA County Council has contacted schools to say the decision to close, or partially close, should be taken based on the headteacher’s judgment.
Schools listed for closure on the site yesterday: Askam Village School, Bram Longstaffe Nursery School, Hindpool Nursery School, Millom Infant School, Newbarns Primary School, North Walney Primary School, South Walney Infant and Nursery School, St Paul’s CofE Junior School.

Below is a selection of secondary schools which have made announcements on their own websites:
Chetwynde will open as normal.
Furness Academy will be closed.
Walney School will open only for Year 10 pupils.
St Bernard’s Catholic High School – Years Nine and 10 to attend as normal. But Years Seven and Eight should not attend.
Dowdales School in Dalton will open only for Year 10 pupils.
Ulverston Victoria High School will open as normal. But a very few classes may have to be covered in the school hall intermittently rather than in their normal classrooms.
Cartmel Priory Church of England School will open as normal.
John Ruskin School in Coniston will open as normal.
Lakes School at Troutbeck Bridge will open as normal.

Bins
Barrow Borough Council – the council does not anticipate any disruption.
South Lakeland District Council – the council does not anticipate any disruption.
Copeland Borough Council – the collections of brown bins for garden waste and black boxes for general recycling scheduled for tomorrow and Friday have been cancelled. They will now be collected the following fortnight. Black bins or blue sack collection (household waste) scheduled for tomorrow should be put out as normal. If they cannot be collected tomorrow, they will “certainly” be collected by Friday afternoon.

Fire service
FIRE Brigades Union members with Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service will strike between 10am and 7pm tomorrow.
Members will also go on a sustained, twice-daily strike between July 14 and 21.
From Monday July 14 to Thursday July 17, there will be a strike from 6am–8am, and 5pm–7pm. On Friday July 18, from 6am–8am and 11pm–1am.
On Saturday July 19, from 11am–1pm, and 11pm–1am. On Sunday July 20, from 5pm–7pm. On Monday July 21, from 6am–8am and 5pm–7pm.

Leisure
ROOSE Library is due to be closed all day. Ulverston and Dalton libraries are due to be closed in the afternoon, but open in the morning. All other libraries were due to be unaffected.
The Park Leisure Centre in Barrow will be closed, but the outdoor pitches will remain open.
The Forum in Duke Street, Barrow, will open for a pre-booked evening event – the Abbey Musical Society’s summer show, From Zero to Hero, at 7.30pm. But it will be closed during the day. The Dock Museum will open as usual.
Ulverston Leisure Centre is now run by a contractor, so will open as normal.
Millom does not have any council-run sports facilities, so they are all unaffected.

Council buildings
THERE will be a regular, full service at Barrow Town Hall but the council was yesterday still uncertain whether the housing office in Cavendish House, on the corner of Duke Street and Cavendish Street, would be open.
South Lakeland District Council anticipates that its offices in Kendal and Ulverston will remain open.
There will, however, be a reduced phone service in operation. If you call SLDC on Thursday, you will be able to leave a voicemail message and a member of staff will call you back as soon as possible.
Copeland Borough Council’s Millom office in St George’s Road will be open from 9am until 1pm. It usually closes at 3pm.

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