UNISON STRIKE: Disruption across Fenland as council workers strike begins to bite- services affected

PUBLISHED: 11:47 16 July 2008 | UPDATED: 08:32 02 June 2010



SCORES of Fenland council workers hit the picket line today as part of a nationwide two-day strike by public servants. Disruption is expected across a number of key services such refuse collection, one stop shops and also housing as Unison members at Fenl


SCORES of Fenland council workers hit the picket line today as part of a nationwide two-day strike by public servants.

Disruption is expected across a number of key services such refuse collection, one stop shops and also housing as Unison members at Fenland District Council down tools.

Up to 20,000 East Anglian members of Unison and thousands of Unite staff are taking part in the 48-hour strike over a rejected 2.45pc pay offer.

Members in Fenland were out on the picket line at the Base in Melbourne Avenue, March.

Teachers are not involved in the action but some schools were hit hard because many teaching assistants belong to Unison, however a spokesman for Cambridgeshire County Council said that there had been no reports of school closures in Fenland today.

Only one refuse lorry out of 19 at Fenland District Council had gone out this morning.

A spokesman for Fenland council said today that changes to services were expected at the one-stop shop and the March shop will be closed both days.

The strike will also affect the refuse, recycling bin collections, street cleaning and graffiti removal and public toilets will also be closed.

He said: "Please be assured that every effort is being made to limit disruption to customers."

Dawn Sadler, branch secretary for the Fenland branch of the Unison said there was less staff across the board as members went out to protest.

She said: "The message from us is that it is unfortunate that employees have made this strike, but it has been unavoidable because of the refusal to increase the pay offer for this year, we are sorry we are not emptying the bins today, cleaning the streets or at the end of the phone, but we hope that the public can see why we are striking."

Peter Gaskin, assistant branch secretary, for the Cambs County branch, added: "Going on strike is not a decision that we have taken lightly.

"We feel that we have to stand up and tell our employees enough is enough.

"Our members at Cambridgeshire County Council and Cambridge City Council tell us 2.45pc is nowhere near enough to cope with the huge hikes in the cost of fuel, food and housing."

Fenland Council said the following services are being affected:

* Customer Access. The March shop will be closed both days, the Whittlesey shop will close on Thursday but the Chatteris shop will be open as usual. Priority is being given to the Wisbech shop and Contact Centre. Due to the high level of calls expected, it would be helpful if residents could look at the regularly updated website or listen to BBC Radio Cambridgeshire who will have the updated situation - supplied by Fenland District Council, rather than using the 654321 telephone number.

* Refuse (landfill) collection. There will be no service on either day. Every effort will be made to catch up with uncollected waste on the Friday rounds. The normal Friday round will be collected on Monday. Customers are being informed of the changes in arrangements via our website, local press and radio station.

* Recycling collection. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday's blue bin collections have been cancelled. Efforts will be made to deliver clear sacks to properties affected during the green bin collection rounds. Residents will need to keep blue bin waste until the next collection in two weeks. Monday's blue bin collection is also likely to be cancelled as we have prioritised household waste collections.

Clear bags will be made available from the one stop shops. Any extra waste will be collected with the blue bins in two weeks time, either through the use of clear sacks or clearly marked black bags.

* Bulky Collections. This service will not operate between Wednesday 16 July to Wednesday 23 July.

* Clinical Waste. Wednesday's clinical collections will be moved to Friday. All customers have been advised. (There are no Thursday clinical customers.)

* Public Toilets. Regrettably it will be necessary to close the public toilets. These will be reopened on Friday.

* Street Cleansing. Town centres and public open spaces will be covered as a priority. Whilst the Rapid Response service will have to be suspended, needles and glass etc. will be covered and treated as a priority.

* Trade Waste Collections (including skip service). These collections will remain unaffected

* Street Sweeping and Graffiti Removal. A response to individual service requests is not guaranteed.

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