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Wednesday, 22 October 2014

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Cumbrians divided over public sector strikes

Public opinion is being divided as public sector workers, firefighters and teachers prepare to walk out.

Dave Armstrong photo
Dave Armstrong

The large-scale industrial action tomorrow is being billed as “the biggest strike in living memory” with up to a million workers nationwide taking part.

The union Unison is leading the way, supported by unions across the board.

Members who work for councils, the fire service and schools are to strike over pay and pensions.

Fire Brigades Union members with Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service will strike between 10am and 7pm – and will go on a sustained twice-daily strike for a further seven days from Friday.

Cumbria County Council has contacted schools to say the decision to close, or partially close, should be taken based on the headteacher’s judgment.

A county council spokesman said the authority had “robust contingency plans to maximise continuity” across its other services and back-up plans were already in place.

The News & Star website is listing all the schools which have announced their plans, prompting vociferous debate among users.

Craig wrote: “All the sympathisers/teachers who are striking: Please explain to me what effect the strike action will have on our elected members of Parliament? Then explain to me what effect it will have on the hardworking people of this land who only have 25 days holiday a year [many of which have to be taken to cover school breaks] and the loss of pay they will have to suffer taking an unauthorised day to cover your strike action.

“In a nutshell: Who does your strike penalise/punish?”

However, Ian counteracted: “If working people didn’t stand up for their rights they would be walked over even further. It is a democratic right. It is not designed to punish anyone, it is there to say enough is enough. It will cause inconvenience no doubt, but they have a good reason for doing it.”

Dave Armstrong, Unison North West regional organiser in Cumbria, said: “People in Cumbria have had enough of austerity. Inadequate public spending is impacting on our public services and our communities. Workers across the public sector have seen their pay cut year after year.

“Austerity is affecting council staff, school employees, workers who keep the community safe, firefighters and civil servants. Public sector staff are taking a stand for a fair deal.”

For list of closed schools, click here

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