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Essex prepares for strike action
DISRUPTION is expected as hundreds of trade unionists go on strike across south Essex on Thursday.
As part of a national day of industrial action, workers who are members of the NUT, GMB, UNISON and Unite are taking strike action on Thursday July 10 in a dispute with the government over pay, pensions and spending cuts.
Members of the Fire Brigades Union will also strike between 10am and 7pm.
It is possible some Basildon Council services, including bin collection, will be affected.
A council spokesman said: "While we will do our best to ensure that disruption is kept to a minimum, delivery of some services on the day, such as refuse collection, may simply not be possible. In most cases we will not be certain of which services will be affected until the day of the strike.
"However, as soon as we have any information it will be shared on this page, social media channels and through the local press. As it may take longer than usual for calls to the Council to be answered on Thursday, July 10 and as less staff may be available to offer face to face assistance, where possible please make use of the website to make payments, submit application forms or report issues.”
Neighbouring Castle Point Council said it did not expect any of its services to be affected by the action.
In Southend, there will be no impact on refuse or recycling services as the contract is managed by Cory not the council.
Ron Woodley, leader of Southend council, said it is possible some services will be affected.
He said: "Whilst we will be doing out best to ensure that disruption is kept to a minimum to front-line services, we are expeciting some school closures.
"In most cases we will not know with certainty what schools will be affected until the day of the strike but as soon as we have any information about schools or any other impact on services, it will be posted on the council's website."
Essex County Council has plans in place to minimise any potential impact as a result of tomorrow’s industrial action.
Until the day of the strike it will be difficult to be sure how and which services will be affected. However, the Council will be seeking to ensure any disruption to local communities is kept to a minimum as much as possible.
Information on any impact the strike action may have will be published on www.essex.gov.uk.
Unionists will rally outside the Basildon Centre and workers also expected to march from Essex County Council in Chelmsford at 11.30am to Essex Cricket ground for a rally.
Members of Southend Unison’s local government branch are expected leave their Civic Centre desks at 11.30am and march down Victoria Avenue to a rally in Victoria Plaza.
Claire Wormald, Southend Unison branch secretary, said: “We know a decent pay rise is affordable.
“Nationally, councils have built up £19 billion in reserves, the government are happy to plan to spend billions on replacing Trident nuclear weapons and we can all see the bankers raking in their bonuses once again. Our hardworking members know this is unfair.
“If the recession is over, don’t we deserve a share in that improvement through a fair pay deal? If our members have a bit more to spend, it will benefit the economy here in Southend and in towns and cities across the country.
“Fighting alongside the other trade unions will help raise the profile of July 10 and will show that right across the public sector, the people who keep services running are saying enough is enough.”
Members of the GMB are also expected to take part in the strike.
Tax and benefits offices in Southend may also close as almost 1,700 staff walk out.
Services at the Jobcentre Plus in Tylers Avenue, the tax advice centre in Victoria Avenue and benefits call centres in Tylers Avenue and Baxter Avenue will be hit hard as members of the public sector workers union PCS strike over pay and conditions.
A DWP spokesman said: "We have measures in place to deliver and maintain a service for the public. We expect everyone who is entitled to benefits will receive them."
Southend Hospital should be unaffected by the industrial action as Unison, which represents many staff members, is yet to hold a planned ballot over strikes.