A group of local government employees in Harrogate are taking part in a national one day strike by picketing outside the council’s Crescent Garden offices today (July 10).
More than one million public sector workers around the country are expected to take part in the action in a protest over their pay and pensions.
The council’s Crescent Garden offices are closed to the public today as a result of the strike action instigated by UNISON, GMB/MPO and the United trade unions.
Dave Houlgate, branch secretary of the local government, was among those protesting today and could not rule out the possibility of further action if there demands were not met.
He said: “We want to be able to sit down and negotiate with ACAS because there should be a way we can discuss these issues.
“At the moment there are council staff who are working on minimum wage and we have had to accept a real terms reduction in pay of 20 per cent.
“We can’t afford it anymore. We would like to be able to spend that money in our local shops and newsagents and support them through this hard time but we haven’t got the money.”
Although it is still not yet known how many staff have taken industrial action in Harrogate, the council confirmed that every service area has been affected by the strike.
However, the council confirmed that they have managed to minimise the disruption caused to residents and businesses, and all critical and key services are being maintained.
Schools across the district are thought to have been affected by teachers striking, as well as firefighters working for the North Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service.
Mr Houlgate said that he wanted everyone to start putting pressure on their local government to start talking to their employees about their pay and pensions.
He said: “We are desperate now. We don’t forget it was the banking crisis that got us into this mess and they’re now receiving their big pay bonuses.
They enjoy these bonuses while ordinary people still suffer austerity and, quite rightly, people are angry about this fact.”
The council confirmed that services unavailable include cremations or burials on council property, dog warden services, cash payment services and the Revenues and Benefits office closed to the general public.
However, the benefits telephone service remains open, leisure facilities at all council owned leisure centres are open while refuse and recycling services have not been affected.
If you have been affected by the strike please get in contact with us at firstname.lastname@example.org