Schools to close on day of action

Gavin Whitefield, chief executive of North Lanarkshire Council
Gavin Whitefield, chief executive of North Lanarkshire Council

A PLANNED day of industrial action by public sector staff next Wednesday (November 30) will see much of Cumbernauld and Kilsyth shut down.

It has emerged that SCHOOLS will close in what is the first national education strike for a quarter of a century -after teaching unions decided to join forces with janitorial and clerical staff.

Community centres, council offices and libraries will also close - when union members walk out on strike in a deepening row over pension cuts.

The industrial action will also mean that Wednesday bin uplifts will not take place and that civic amenity ‘tips’ will close.

NLC’s chief executive Gavin Whitefield admitted that normal services would be heavily affected on the day.

He said: “While this dispute is between the trade unions and the UK Government and not the council, if the strike action goes ahead as expected there will be widespread disruption to services.

“We are currently negotiating exemptions with the trade unions so that we can ensure appropriate cover for our most vulnerable service users. However, it’s clear that there will be a major impact on all council services,” he added.

Meanwhile it emerges that Motherwell Civic Centre will act as a central meeting point for disgruntled workers on the big day.

The News has learned that a giant rally will be staged there at noon which is part of the STUC’s ‘There is a Better Way’ campaign which lobbies for workers’ pension rights.

Closer to home, picket lines are expected to pop up across workplaces across Cumbernauld - as strikers ask the public to show solidarity with the workers.

Hugh Gaffnery of North Lanarkshire Trade Union Council said that employees felt they had no choice but to strike - as he believes that cuts have spiralled out of control.

He said: “Public service workers are being asked to pay more and work for a pension that will be much less than was originally promised. Private sector workers are also having their pensions attacked by cost cutting.

All working people should have decent and fair pensions. Workers are sick of seeing their incomes shrink in real terms with pay cuts and pay freezes while the cost of living continues to rise.

“As more and more workers slip into poverty, the trade union members are saying enough is enough. The act on pensions is the final straw,” he added.

Further details on the extent of the disruption will be available on the council website at www.northlanarkshire.gov.uk or following Twitter @nlcpeople