Strikes continue for second day

FRUSTRATED public sector employees again manned picket lines in Ipswich today as a bitter dispute over a below-inflation pay offer rumbled on.

FRUSTRATED public sector employees again manned picket lines in Ipswich today as a bitter dispute over a below-inflation pay offer rumbled on.

Workers from Ipswich Borough and Suffolk County councils are striking as part of industrial action organised by trade union Unison, which has been prompted by a proposed 2.45 per cent rise.

Malcolm Brown, branch chairman of Ipswich Borough Unison, described today's and yesterday's action as positive - but warned there could be more strikes if public sector employers refused to return to the negotiating table.

He said: “We are very positive and we feel most of the staff support the action.

“However, if employers are not prepared to come back to the negotiating table, there will be more strike action in the future.

“I realise there are some who will be affected by this action but we feel we have no option.

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“Inflation is running at 3.89pc and a lot of our members are on the bare minimum wage so clearly the rise being offered is nowhere near enough.”

Sarah Bradfield, council support manager at Suffolk County Council, said the pay offer had left staff feeling undervalued.

She said: “Council workers are often some of the lowest paid but they do some of the most important jobs.

“They are the people who help and assist teachers in schools, they are the people who clean residential homes and council offices, yet they are not properly paid to carry out these roles.”

Despite a reduced workforce, both Ipswich Borough and Suffolk County Council were confident that services would remain largely operational.

Do you back the Unison members? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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