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SLDC prepares for day of strike action
STAFF at South Lakeland District Council are to join public sector colleagues nationwide in a 24-hour walk-out tomorrow.
SLDC is not certain how many employees will observe Thursday's union action but the authority has members of both Unison and GMB.
Further afield, tomorrow's strike will involve firefighters, teachers, civil servants and local government staff walking out over pay.
Union leaders have claimed it will be the biggest mass walkout since 1926.
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Members of UNISON, GMB, Unite, the National Union of Teachers, Public and Commercial Services (PCS) and the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) have all been called to take action.
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 just four years, claim UNISON.
“This will be the biggest day of industrial action in the public sector in living memory,” said John Lewis, the union’s north west head of local government.
“People are really struggling on poverty pay. A pay rise would benefit local economies as it would boost spending in local shops.”
SLDC says plans are in place to try and reduce inconvenience for those needing council services.
It says SLDC will operate as 'normally as possible' during the industrial action which is scheduled to take place just after midnight until 23.59pm tomorrow (Thursday July 10).
A statement from the council today said it was anticipated that the South Lakeland District Council offices in Kendal and Ulverston will remain open.
However, it says there will be a reduced phone service in operation.
It advises that if you call the council tomorrow you will be able to leave a voice-mail message and a member of staff will call you back as soon as possible.
“South Lakeland District Council would like to apologise in advance for any inconvenience caused during the industrial action on 10 July.
“We are endeavouring to continue operating as normally as possible but inevitably there could be some delays responding to enquiries. We would therefore ask that members of the public be patient during the period of the strike action.’’
GMBs national secretary Brian Strutton added: “GMB members serving school meals, cleaning streets, emptying bins, looking after the elderly, helping children in classrooms and in all the other vital roles serving our communities are fed up with being ignored and undervalued.”
Christine Blower, general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said: “The consequences of turning teaching into a totally unattractive career choice will most certainly lead to teacher shortages.”
South Lakeland District Council hopes to keep its offices in Kendal and Ulverston open but there will be a reduced phone service.
Meanwhile firefighters will strike on eight consecutive days this month, starting on Monday July 14.
Around 30 schools will close, say Cumbria County Council, but none so far in Kendal. For a list of affected schools go to www.cumbria.gov.uk/school_closures for a list of affected schools.