Thursday’s strike to impact Northumberland

All meetings at County Hall, Morpeth, on Thursday have been called off.
All meetings at County Hall, Morpeth, on Thursday have been called off.

Schools and county-council premises in Northumberland look set to be disrupted on Thursday as public-sector strike action takes place.

Of the four high schools that serve north Northumberland, the Duchess’s Community High School in Alnwick will be closed, Berwick Academy and KEVI in Morpeth will be partially open and James Calvert Spence College in Amble will be open as usual.

Other schools in the area that are closed on Thursday are Ellingham First School, Wooler First School and Dr Thomlinson’s Middle School in Rothbury.

Amble First School, Seahouses First School, Seahouses Middle School and St Paul’s Middle School in Alnwick will all be partially open.

This is according to the latest information that Northumberland County Council has, although this could change ahead of Thursday.

Meanwhile, plans have been outlined by Unison’s Northumberland County Branch ahead of the strike which will see the cancellation of all meetings at County Hall and across county council locations on Thursday. The strike action will affect local government workers and school-support staff in the county.

The union represents thousands of local government and school workers across the county and the planned stoppage will mean service interruptions.

The strike follows anger at a three-year pay freeze and a pay cut last year and a one per cent pay offer which effectively means another pay cut. Unison is pointing to cost-of-living increases of 2.5 per cent and the effects of the pay freeze which has meant wages have fallen by 20 per cent since 2010.

Ian Fleming, joint branch secretary, Northumberland County Branch, said: “It’s with a heavy heart that we’re taking this action in concert with other unions and workers across the country, but we feel we’ve no choice. Our wages are falling, prices are going up and we feel local government is paying for the criminal mistakes of the banking industry.

“While the Government squeezes ordinary people, the banking industry is back to paying bumper bonuses. Local government workers keep services going day in, day out, despite savage government cuts and we look after the elderly, the vulnerable – those who need it most.

“Almost half-a-million of our jobs have gone nationally. Those of us left are doing far more for far less. We want to send a clear message to the Government that our members deserve much better.”

Firefighters are also due to strike on Thursday – the 15th in their campaign, which will also see them strike on eight consecutive days this month, starting next Monday.

Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said: “The Government must realise that firefighters cannot accept proposals that would have such devastating consequences for their futures, their families’ futures and the future of the fire and rescue service itself.

“We have tried every route available to us to make the Government see sense over their attacks. Three years of negotiations have come to nothing because the Government is simply unwilling to compromise or even listen to reason despite a huge amount of evidence showing their planned scheme is unworkable.”

After Thursday, the strikes will take place: Monday, July 14, to Thursday, July 17, and Monday, July 21 – 6am–8am and 5pm–7pm; Friday, July 18 – 6am–8am and 11pm–1am (Sat); Saturday, July 19 – 11am–1pm and 11pm–1am (Sun); Sunday, July 20 – 5pm–7pm.