Thousands of workers strike
Last updated at 16:01, Thursday, 01 December 2011
PUBLIC service workers across the county went on strike yesterday, in the biggest walkout of modern times.
Members of 11 unions staged a day of industrial protest at government cuts and changes to public sector pensions.
Schools and council services will shut with political commentators predicting that today will be the largest incidence of action since the General Strike in 1926.
Over 100 Cumbrian schools, Ulverston and Millom police stations, the Dock Museum, the Forum and the Park Leisure Centre all closed.
Two million workers across the UK took part.
Unions have warned that further strikes could be held unless the government backs down on its proposals.
The proposals will see public sector workers contributing more, while working longer and seeing their pensions reduced.
Picket lines were held at several workplaces throughout Barrow: including Barrow Town Hall, Furness General Hospital and Barrow ambulance station.
The protests culminated with a rally at Barrow Town Hall at 12.30pm followed at 1pm by a minute of noise.
The Park Leisure Centre, the Forum and the Dock Museum were all be closed.
Council chief executive Tom Campbell said: “We can't guarantee that we will have enough staff for health and safety or catering purposes so will have to shut these services.”
Services in Millom were also affected, but Copeland Borough Council hoped to be able to keep council offices and bin collections running as a normal.
Pat Graham, Copeland’s corporate director for people and places, said: “We would ask the public to be patient and only call or visit on Wednesday if the matter can't wait.
“We will endeavour to carry out as many services as possible, as normally as possible, but we will not know until the day exactly how many staff we will have and in what departments.”
The majority of Cumbrian schools closed, with many pupils being told to stay at home due to staff shortages.
Up to 7,000 Cumbria County Council took part in the walkout.
Barrow Library and Ulverston Library were closed, however Millom Library remained open as normal.
With parents being left to find alternative childcare arrangements, Lakes Leisure in Ulverston put on a special sports, games and craft day for children. Community development officer Caroline Smith said: “I came up with the idea as I am a parent and I know how difficult it can be to find alternative arrangements at short notice.”
Although some hospital workers will strike, NHS Cumbria said holiday cover was used to ensure essential services continue.
A spokesman said: “In the majority of cases, public holiday cover will provided to enable the minimum level of participating union members to be at work, and still for NHS services to function and meet the essential needs of patients.
“Public holiday cover includes accident and emergency departments, emergency surgery, minor injury units and essential community nursing.
“In addition, important services such as radiotherapy, chemotherapy, renal dialysis and emergency dental services will also continue to be provided.”
He added patients should have been informed if their appointments were cancelled, and that GP and dental surgeries were not affected.
Up to 85 per cent of ambulance workers went on strike, mean a reduction in the services that will operate.
A spokeswoman for the North West Ambulance Service said: “Our priority is to provide a safe service to the public and we have agreed with staff side representatives that essential services will still be maintained during the day of action. This means 999 calls will be answered and responded to. We will also be maintaining our high dependency patient transport service for those patients who require transport for urgent care such as dialysis, cancer care or other serious illness.
“It is likely that the level of service we will be able to offer will be a reduced one, and we are urging the public on the day to carefully consider whether they urgently need an ambulance before calling 999.
“It is important that the reduced number of vehicles we may have on the road are concentrated on those who need us the most.”
Only four police stations in Cumbria were open to the public as a result of the action.
Barrow police station remained open but Millom and Ulverston closed as a result of the strike.
First published at 08:10, Wednesday, 30 November 2011
Published by http://www.nwemail.co.uk
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So here we go,the well looked after who donot want to help anyone else,just like the Greeks
Dear Bruce if bin men are earning more than you. Perhaps it is because they at least do perform an important function in todays society.
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