Published:
July 10, 2014
Burnham area avoids worst of the strike action across Somerset

Carers, social workers, refuse collectors, street cleaners and teaching assistants will be among thousands of local council and school support workers across Somerset striking today (Thursday) as part of nationwide action over pay.

While parents in the Burnham-On-Sea area were warned that schools could be affected by the disruption, the area appears to have avoided the worst of the action.

Burnham and Highbridge Libraries are open as usual - despite several across the county being hit by the strike.

Kris Ross-Osborne, Assistant Branch Secretary to UNISON Somerset County Branch, said: "While we will be on strike our members will be showing their commitment to our communities in Somerset that we believe that public services are important and worth fighting for."

"We’re clear that if we want to preserve them in the future then the staff that provide them deserve fair pay for the work they do. Anything less will inevitably lead to poorer services in time as staff struggle to make ends meet and keep a roof over their heads. With price rises outstripping wages for the past six years, and with interest rate rise predicted to rise sharply in the next two years, something has to change."

She added that local government workers "have long been amongst the lowest paid in the public sector and the government has had their pay and conditions squarely in its sights since 2010."

"A pay freeze in 2010, 2011 and 2012 and well below inflation rises in 2013 and 2014 has sent the pay packets of local government and school workers plummeting back to the level of the 1990s."

"Many council workers in Somerset have been left struggling just to get by, with some relying on foodbanks and the false economy of in-work benefits to make ends meet. This year’s offer would result in a cumulative real-term cut of almost 20% since 2008 for more than one million local government and school workers."

UNISON said it is urging the employers to get back to the negotiating table with an offer that recognises the invaluable contribution members make to their local communities.

 


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