MORE than 2,500 Buckinghamshire teachers are expected to go on strike today (Wednesday) and join a national walkout over changes to public sector pensions which will force staff to work longer and get less in return.
Nurses, teaching assistants, social workers, care assistants, paramedics, back office police staff, school dinner ladies, probation workers, court staff, teachers and cleaners have been told to meet in Kingsbury in Aylesbury at 10.30am.
The strike will affect council rubbish collections, recycling centres, children’s centres, and also potentially job centres and courts.
Aylesbury Register Office has confirmed today’s planned wedding will still go ahead, however.
The teachers’ walkout is set to cause huge problems for parents, who are unlikely to be allowed to bring their children to work with them.
Most schools across the county have sent letters home warning parents about any closures or disruption.
Last week the Prime Minister suggested bosses should consider allowing workers to bring their children with them to the office, but Stuart Jones, the chief executive of Bucks Business First, this week said: “There is also lots to think about bringing a child into a workplace, you have health and safety considerations, CRB checks to think about – it is going to be obstructive to some.”
The head of HR at Bucks County Council Gillian Hibberd said: “The council is not insured to have children in the workplace, so this is not an option we can explore.” She added that where possible staff will be able to work from home – but warned ‘any sickness on the day of industrial action must be supported by a medical certificate from the employee’s doctor’.
In parts of the Thames Valley extra officers will be on stand by in case of any issue, but across the Vale Superintendent George Wrigley does not expect any problems.
He said: “What we are doing locally is monitoring what is happening and working with the organisers. Tere is no threat in terms of public order, they are very compliant with the law and they have a legitimate right to strike. I don’t expect any issues.”
Steve Bell, secretary of the Bucks health branch of Unison, defended the walkout, saying: “The frustration and anger over increases in pension contributions, working longer to get less, has meant that many have said enough is enough and will be taking strike action for the first time.”
Annette Pryce, secretary of the Bucks branch of the National teachers Union, said: ”There is no need to cut pensions, the pension pot is financially healthy and the money is there – this is another cut to bail out the banks.”
Aylesbury Railway Club hosts an solidarity rally at 7.30pm.