Harrogate council strike: Firefighters join action as services affected

Striking firefighters outside Harrogate Fire Station.  (130925M9)
Striking firefighters outside Harrogate Fire Station. (130925M9)

Residents in Harrogate face the problem of reduced or cancelled services when the council takes part in a one day strike on Thursday July 10.

The council will be taking part in the national one day strike along with teachers, firefighters and civil servants, over their pay and pensions.

More than a million public sector workers around the country are expected to take part in the action which has been instigated by UNISON, GMB/MPO and the United trade unions.

Although it is not yet known how many staff will take industrial action in Harrogate, the council confirmed the strike may affect a number of services.

Wallace Sampson, Harrogate Borough Council’s Chief Executive said: “The council has tried to minimise as far as possible the disruption to residents and businesses caused by the national industrial action on Thursday 10th July.

“However, the industrial action may result in the council having to provide a reduced service, or close a facility.”

Residents collecting benefit payments are thought to be affected by the strike with office buildings set to close to the general public.

The council also warned residents with a Thursday refuse and recycling collection date may miss their pick-up that week and may also impact on further dates.

Residents in Wetherby also face disruption to their services as Leeds City Council confirmed they would also be taking part in the strike action.

A spokeswoman for Leeds City Council, said:“The day of industrial action could potentially have a big impact on some of our services, as we may simply not have enough staff in work to deliver them.

“We are preparing our continuity plans to try to minimise the impact of the strike on critical services for our most vulnerable residents. However, it is inevitable that some of our services will be disrupted.

“All services will have plans in place that are ready to implement, and we will provide information and updates via the Leeds City Council website.

“Parents should contact their children’s school to find out if they are affected, as it is at the discretion of headteachers and chairs of governors as to whether individual schools will be closed.”

Residents have also been warned by North Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service to take extra care during the strike as there will be fewer fire engines available.

The FBU strike will last between 10am and 7pm and will be the 15th in the firefighters’ campaign with further action expected to be announced this week.

Teachers will also be taking part in the day of action after suffering two years of pay freezes, a one per cent pay cap in 2013 and a one per cent pay rise announced this year.

The NUT says the strike is a call for joint action, not only over the value of teachers’ take-home pay but also on their working conditions.

A statement on the NUT website read: “Whilst the economy might be growing again, across the UK real wages are still falling, with public servants everywhere facing a huge squeeze on their incomes.

“Pay restraint was a bitter pill to swallow during the dark days of recession, but now the economy looks to be back on its feet, public sector workers are understandably angry that their pay continues to be held down.”