Strike due for royal visit
HOPES remained high today that the Queen's visit to the county would not be effected by council strike action taking place the same day.On July 17 the Queen, accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, will visit Ipswich, Stowmarket and Bury St Edmunds as she continues her Golden Jubilee tour.
HOPES remained high today that the Queen's visit to the county would not be effected by council strike action taking place the same day.
On July 17 the Queen, accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, will visit Ipswich, Stowmarket and Bury St Edmunds as she continues her Golden Jubilee tour.
But on the same day more than 1.2 million council workers are due to down tools having voted in favour of action over pay.
The action will affect services across the board of local authority including education, housing, planning, transport, catering, cleaning and refuse collection.
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It is not known how many Suffolk workers will take part in the strike but council officials remain confident that the royal visit will go ahead as planned.
Ipswich mayor Richard Risebrow, who is due to meet the Queen when she arrives in town said details of the visit were in the hands of Suffolk County Council but added: "It is very difficult for me to say what effect it will have but my first thought is that the visit will go ahead."
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Ray Nowak, member of the county council's executive committee, said: "Now that we know the results of the national ballot we will be considering the implications for service delivery and the need to make contingency plans.
"It is important that we continue to provide our services for the most vulnerable people in our communities.
"We are confident that the Queen's visit on July 17 will go ahead as planned. We will be having early talks with UNISON to discuss the local implications of this national decision."
Local government workers across England, Wales and Northern Ireland are expected to take part in the strike following the vote announced by unions UNISON, TGWU and GMB in protest at a three per cent pay offer.
They have claimed a six per cent or £1,750 pay rise to bring the minimum wage in local government to £11,017 a year. It will be the first national strike since 1989.
Ann Vinden, UNISON eastern region spokesman, said: "It's really important that pay is treated properly. There's quite a lot of pressure in this region because of house prices, which is pushing a lot of our workers to the edge of the market."
UNISON's national secretary for local government, Heather Wakefield, added: "Our members have voted for industrial action because they are sick of being treated as the poor relations of the public sector. Their case for a realistic pay rise is indisputable."
However Brian Baldwin, chairman of the employers' side, said: "Any strike would be pointless and will achieve nothing. Employers have no more money than the 3% on offer. The ballot result will change nothing. We cannot conjure up extra money."