Local government workers in Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire set to strike

David Devereux with his UNISON flag David Devereux with his UNISON flag

Sunday, July 6, 2014
3:02 PM

Local government workers across Crow country will be staging a one-day walkout over pay.

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Some workers at North Hertfordshire District Council, South Cambridgeshire District Council, Hertfordshire County Council (HCC) and Cambridgeshire County Council – as well as those employed by schools – will strike next Thursday, July 10, after a 1% pay rise was offered by the Government.

Local government workers have had three consecutive years of pay freezes, followed by below-inflation rises in 2013 and 2014, which has meant pay has reduced by almost 20% in real terms since the coalition government came to power in 2010.

The strike has been organised after members of trade unions such as UNISON, Unite and the National Union of Teachers, supported a ballot proposing action.

David Devereux, a child care worker in Hertfordshire and part-time officer with UNISON, said: “I am going on strike because of the 1% pay rise in four 
years. Everything has got more expensive but our pay has decreased in real terms.

“We are not asking for the world but the Local Government Association won’t even talk to us.

“We are worth it. I work Christmas Day because somebody has to be there with the kids all the time. Some people think we should get paid nothing, but once you have your mum go into a care home you realise how important a job these people do.”

Unions will be staging a picket outside Farnham House on Six Hills Way in Stevenage – a base for HCC – from 6am to 10am next Thursday (July 10).

Ann Glover, UNISON regional head of local government, said: “We have a clear majority for strike action so a one-day strike will go ahead on July 10.

“Many of our members are low paid women earning barely above the minimum wage, who care for our children, our elderly and our vulnerable and they deserve better treatment than they have had at the hands of this government. The employers must get back into talks immediately to avoid a damaging dispute.”

Bill Davidson, councillor for Royston Meridian, said: “They are within their rights to go on strike if they are not happy with the pay rise and I just hope that it is not going to cause too many delays to the public services they provide.”

Derrick Ashley, cabinet member for resources at HCC, said: “The proposed industrial action on July 10 is based on national issues over pay, although Hertfordshire County Council is 
continuing to hold conversations with the unions locally to try and help find a resolution.

“In the meantime, we will be planning ahead to minimise the impact of any strike on council services, particularly those for vulnerable people, to ensure that it will be ‘business as usual’ as much as possible on the day.”

A spokesman for HCC said it was unable to comment about potential school closures and parents would need to contact individual schools directly.

Details of any closures will be posted on www.hertsdirect.org on the morning of the strike.

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