How pensions strike will affect Calderdale

NEARLY 1,500 council workers, up to 900 school-based staff and well over 1,000 teachers in Calderdale could join tomorrow’s strike in protest over changes to pensions.

Hospitals, courts, benefit offices and other Government services could also be affected by the mass walkout.

Most Calderdale schools are expected to close. Sport and leisure centres, swimming pools and libraries could also be affected.

Calderdale Council said it was impossible at this stage to say exactly what the impact might be but contingency plans were in place to protect front-line service users.

Trades unions are planning a march and protest rally in Halifax town centre.

“We know this may be inconvenient but we hope you will understand why we are doing this and that you will support us,” said the Calderdale teaching unions’ consortium.

“We do not like taking strike action but we believe we have no choice, because of what the government is trying to do to our pensions which we believe will be damaging for education and for other public services,” according to the ATL, NAHT, NUT and NASUWT.

Public sector workers are being asked to pay 50 per cent more for their pensions, work longer and get a smaller pension.

Unions claim that cutting public sector pensions will make more pensioners poorer and put the cost of supporting them on to the State and taxpayers.

Local authority unions backing the strike include Unison and Unite, Amicus, the GMB and NLBD.

Elizabeth Cresswell, the head of Brighouse High, has told parents the school will be closed for all 1,400 pupils and has urged them to encourage their children to use the day to prepare for exams.

Graham Maslen, head of North Halifax Grammar, said he did not know how many staff would join the strike so the school would have to close for safety reasons.

A spokeswoman for Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Calderdale Royal Hosptial, said the strike will impact on its services.

But she said: “Unions have agreed that the strike will not affect critical services.”