Strike action set to close some schools

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SCHOOLS and councils are preparing for what could be one of the biggest days of strike action in a generation.

Public sector workers are planning a one-day walk out on Wednesday over proposed government changes to their pension schemes. The Government wants them to pay an average of 1.5 per cent more of their salary into their pension schemes.

Several schools in Rutland have confirmed they will be closed if it goes ahead while Rutland County Council and Lincolnshire County Council are looking at ways to manage their services if employees do not turn up.

Lincolnshire County Council’s director for performance and governance, David O’Connor, said: “Trade unions have balloted for industrial action in response to proposed national changes to the Local Government Pension Scheme. This is not a local dispute and is likely to affect many public services across the country.

“As a responsible authority we have been making plans for this industrial action for many weeks and are working towards agreeing service exemptions with the trade unions to ensure that vital life and limb services are maintained.

“We have also put plans in place to minimise any disruption to other council services including a restriction on annual leave for the proposed day of strike action, and have asked managers to plan services around possible reduced staffing levels.”

Rutland County Council aims to prioritise services for vulnerable members of the community.

A spokesman said: “We are not ruling out the prospect of some disruption to council services but we are making every effort to ensure that essential services operate as normal.”

If the strike goes ahead, customers are urged to wait until Thursday to contact the council with non urgent inquiries in order to prioritise services for vulnerable members of the community.

Members of three unions – Unison, Unite and the National Union of Teachers –are expected to join the strike. Unison’s regional secretary, Helen Black, said: “Bringing about the biggest industrial action involving 100,000 of our members is a challenge but one we have risen to. Next week will be history in the making. Our members are being forced to take this action to protect their pension.”

Ketton Primary School, Langham Primary School, Ryhall Primary School and English Martyrs Primary School in Oakham have all confirmed that they will be closed on Wednesday if the strike goes ahead. Classes 2 and 3 at Edith Weston Primary School will also be closed.