Suffolk: Public sector workers walk out over pension threat
PUBLIC sector strikes are set to cause disruption across the country today, including Suffolk, as thousands walk out in protest over pension changes.
Teachers, NHS staff and other public sector workers are expected to strike in opposition to pension reforms.
The 24-hour mass walkout by public sector workers could be the biggest since 1926 with more than half of Suffolk schools set to be closed.
Bin collections will also be affected, although some collections will go ahead as normal. Suffolk Coastal District Council estimates around a third of the blue lidded recycling and grey lidded household rubbish collections will be operating as normal and around half of the brown bin rounds will run.
“It is unfortunate that such a key service for our residents is going to be affected but I would ask all our residents who are due for a collection on Wednesday to please put your bins out as normal, and to leave them out until they are emptied,” said councillor Andrew Nunn, cabinet member for the green environment.
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The on-foot street sweeping service, and litter and dog bin emptying, are expected to be unaffected on Wednesday. Mechanical street sweeping services will, however, be at a reduced level.
Essential county council services should keep running, despite the strike. And the East of England Ambulance Service has confirmed staff will keep responding to 999 calls throughout today’s industrial action.
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Alan Murray, director of service delivery, said a considerable amount of contingency planning has taken place in preparation for today’s walk out.
He said: “As always we are urging the public to ring for an ambulance only in an emergency.
“If you are experiencing chest pains, have difficulty in breathing or someone is having a suspected stroke, please call for an ambulance immediately.
“Our priority is to ensure we continue to answer emergency calls to those patients in the greatest need. Please only call 999 in an emergency.”
Gary Applin, branch secretary of East Of England Ambulance Unison, said: “We want to fight the pension changes but we certainly don’t want the public to be harmed. When a 999 call comes in, we will be in our vehicles responding as normal.”
Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service will remain unaffected, with fire unions not involved in this industrial action.
Schools in Felixstowe are all expected to be affected by tomorrow’s strike action.
Felixstowe Academy will be completely closed as a result of the strikes and Kingsfleet Primary School will also be closed.
Suffolk police officers will be present during a march through Ipswich town centre.
A spokesman said: “We are aware of planned protests, marches and intentions to picket workplaces. We recognise the right for the general public to protest. Officers will be present to provide reassurance and to ensure public safety.”
Visit http://schoolclosures.suffolk.gov.uk to see if your school is affected.