Strike action over pensions could lead to day of disruption

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PEOPLE are being warned that proposed industrial action could lead to school closures, bus and rail disruptions and the cancellation of some council services next Wednesday, November 30.

Members of several major public service and teaching unions have voted for the one-day strike in protest at public sector pension reforms that they claim will leave workers paying more, working longer and receiving less when they retire.

Many other public services, healthcare facilities and hospitals are also expected to be hit by the walk-out.

While organisations such as Newtownabbey Borough Council and Translink have confirmed that some of their employees will be taking part in the strike action, they are still not sure the extent to which services will be affected.

“It is anticipated that there will be some disruption to Newtownabbey Borough Council services on November 30,” a council spokesperson said. “The council will use the website (www.newtownabbey.gov.uk), Twitter (www.twitter.com/newtownabbeybc) and notices at council facilities to keep residents and customers advised of any disruption to services on the day of the industrial action.”

A Translink representative added: “We are currently considering the impact on services and how it may best be managed.”

Several local schools have already sent letters home to parents warning them that they may have to close if sufficient numbers teachers take part in the industrial action.

In his correspondence to parents, Ballyclare High School Principal, David Knox said: “Because we may not know until very late how many staff will be available to work, the decision to close may have to be taken at the last minute. Every effort will be made to give notice at the latest by the day before; but in case the decision has to be made on the day itself, we are asking parents to nominate a place of safety, which may be your home, to which your child can go if we have to close.”

The North Eastern Education and Library Board is urging all schools to let parents know what’s happening next Wednesday as soon as possible.

“It appears that virtually all the unions representing both teaching and non-teaching staff in schools will be taking part in the action. The Board will be urging school principals to try to clarify who in their school will be absent on the day and as a result determine whether or not their school can remain open. They should then arrange to communicate this to parents as quickly as possible,” a Board spokesman said.