Strike call to thousands of workers

Julia Orry
Julia Orry
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THOUSANDS of town hall workers are being balloted for strike action in protest over pension cuts.

Street cleaners, home helps, librarians and social workers are among the town hall staff set to join a nationwide walkout by up to three million public sector employees.

The 3,000-strong membership of the Blackpool branch of local government union Unison is being urged to vote in favour of joining the public service strike on November 30 after ballot papers went out yesterday.

Meetings between workers and union bosses have been held across the town in the past week.

Julia Orry, branch secretary, said: “We’re urging all our members to vote yes in the ballot for industrial action.

“Local council workers do their jobs so they can care for the public, cleaning streets, caring for elderly and vulnerable people and keeping children safe.

“They know what these services mean to their local community. They do not take the decision to strike lightly.

“But they have been left with little choice. The pensions plans are just another way of making public sector workers pay for the recession.

“It is a tax on low paid workers. On top of heavy job losses and a pay freeze at a time of high inflation, it is pushing them too far.

“We do not want to harm the public and we know we can count on their support. We will be asking them to join our campaign for decent pensions for all workers, public and private sector.”

Unions are angry workers are being told to pay an extra 3.2 per cent in pension contributions.

They say the average pension in local government is £4,000, dropping to £2,800 for women which is less than £56 a week.

More than 1.1 million members of Unison, which is the UK’s largest union, are taking part in the ballot nationally.

Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said: “Government ministers want to save £4bn. And they want our members to make up that money by paying more and working longer for a pension worth less.”