RESIDENTS have been assured that there will be minimal disruption as thousands of workers across the county walk out in a row over pay and pensions.
Teachers, firefighters, council workers and civil servants are striking today in an ongoing row over pay and conditions.
Members of the unions locally, including GMB, National Union of Teachers (NUT), Public and Commercial Services (PCS), UNISON and Unite will join the national strike which will see rallies organised and picket lines drawn.
Unions have said that strike action is the last resort and although they regret any disruption caused, they feel that the government is not negotiating and so they have no choice.
Dorset County Council could see as many as 2,000 staff striking and says it has put plans in place to minimise disruption to services like waste management.
All bin collections should happen as normal and catch-up collections will be done on Saturday if necessary.
Services like registrars, children’s services, adult social care day services and park and rides should not be affected and most libraries should run as normal.
PCS health and safety representative for Weymouth’s Department of Work and Pensions branch, Tim Nicholls, said staff are striking for a number of reasons. He said they had experienced a four-year pay freeze, which constituted being £215 a month worse off than they were five years ago because of inflation.
Other issues revolved around changes to their pensions, meaning they will be paid less money later on and have to pay more, and concern and frustration at the extra pressures of the job.
Mr Nicholls added that morale was ‘pretty low’ among staff at the moment.
He said: “We certainly hope the government will change their mind.”
Adding that his message to those in power would be: “See some fairness and do right by us.”
Members of the Fire Brigades Union will be supporting the national strike with a strike from 10am to 7pm and Dorset Fire and Rescue Service will be running a reduced emergency response.
There are also further strikes planned for next week.
The strike comes as part of an ongoing row about firefighters’ pensions.
PCS branch chairman for the Land Registry Andy Woodgate said since 2010 staff had been subject to a pay freeze followed by a pay rise cap of 1 per cent.
Mr Woodgate said: “In addition, any pay rises have been more than wiped out by increased pension contributions.
“Many staff doing an excellent job have been denied any move up their pay scales, despite government saying it wishes to reward staff through performance pay.”
Schools affected by today'a action
Bridport Primary School; Southill Primary School; Dorchester Middle School;Damers First School; Thomas Hardye School will be closed to students in Year 9 and 10 but open to the Sixth Form; Mountjoy School; Sir John Colfox; Loders
Sticklands Primary School, Evershot- Open for Year 1-4 but closed for Year 5 &6 and reception; Dorchester Learning Centre; Milborne St Andrew First School- Two classes will be closed and two will be open; St George's Primary School, Portland- Three classes won't be in but the rest will be.
Budmouth College- Open to Sixth Form but closed to the rest of the school;
Parrett and Axe, Mosterton- open to orange class and Green group numeracy but closed to the rest of the school
REFUSED TO COMMENT:
Portesham Primary School