Strikes call a halt to local services

Industrial action by public sector workers over pensions

Related links

Tax rise to pay for 'cleaner, greener, safer' Ealing

Ealing gets 3 stars from Audit Commission

'Response' project to be reined in

Ealing fails to collect over £7 million in taxes

Sign Up For

Thousands of local council workers went on strike this week to defend their pensions.

Members of the local government pension scheme who are Pension strikers members of the public services union, Unison voted to strike against proposed Government cuts in their pension benefits. The strike saw local teaching assistants, home helps, police community support officers, school meals workers, emergency services control room staff and refuse collectors stage a 24 hour walk-out in protest of the changes.

In Ealing Borough 29 schools were closed and three partially closed as well one children's respite centre and one adult's day centre closed. The council’s Customer Service Centre operated a reduced service.

Matthew Baker, Head of Human Resources at Ealing Council, said “The trade unions are in dispute with central government over changes to the local government pension scheme and have called out their members in all local authorities. During the striking period we took every measure to minimise the impact to our residents. Staff shortages have meant some schools and two social services centres closed as well as most libraries. We fully expect all services to return to normal when strike action ends."

In Hounslow Borough, refuse collections were affected and the majority of school dinner ladies went on strike.  Fourteen schools were closed across the borough with the Council requesting parents make alternative childcare arrangements. Hounslow also requested that residents only visit council offices on if absolutely necessary and asked for patience with staff who were not taking part in the industrial action.

At the centre of the row is the abolition of ‘Rule of 85’ which is rule that pension scheme members can currently retire on a full pension if their age, plus the number of years' service adds up to 85 rather than waiting until the normal retirement age of 65. 
The Government believes that the Rule of 85 breaches anti-ageism legislation that comes into effect later this year.

March 29, 2006