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Teachers, firefighters and council staff go on strike

Hundreds of teaching staff, firefighters and council staff in north-east Hampshire walked out of work on Thursday during national strikes over pay

 

Schools and services were affected by national strikes on Thursday (July 10) as teachers, firefighters and public workers took part in industrial action across north-east Hampshire.

Frogmore Community College and Henry Tyndale School were forced to partially close and hundreds of firefighters were expected to walk out for the day.

Protesters gathered outside Rushmoor Fire Station to campaign for better pensions during the strikes involving the National Union of Teachers (NUT), the Fire Brigades’ Union (FBU), UNISON, Unite, the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) and the GMB union.

The FBU are in  a dispute with the Government over pensions , while other public sector unions are unhappy with pay.

Rushmoor fire station was closed on Thursday, with a group of around six firefighters present throughout the day, surrounded by banners and flags.

They were encouraged by passing motorists sounding their horns in support of their action.

Mike Saunders, FBU representative for the borough, said that a number of firefighters at the station were "worried" about the impact the changes in pension arrangements would have on them when they retired.

He said those at the station were now paying £350 every month on average as pension contributions had risen from 11% to 14.2%.

"How many 60-year-olds do you think could climb that tower," he said, pointing to the training tower behind the fire station in Lynchford Road. "We're here to show strength and unity with the FBU. There's a real fear about what's next."

A spokesman for Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service said: "We would like to reassure you that emergency calls will be answered and responded to.

"We will remain in operation as usual, and would like your help in reducing calls during this time by taking extra care throughout the period of industrial action.

"If you have an emergency dial 999 and we will we send an emergency response, but our level of response will be limited and may take longer than usual.

Unison members formed picket lines outside the Rushmoor Borough Council and Hart District Council offices on Thursday morning.

Patricia Hughes, Joint Chief Executive at Hart District Council, said: "We were advised by Unison in advance of the strike that some individual members may be taking part. Managers are reporting that the strike is not having an impact on council-run services."

And a Rushmoor Borough Council spokesman told Get Hampshire : "About 1% of our staff are on strike today, so it has had very little, if any, impact on our services."

 

 

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