Defiant ‘business as usual’ thrust as Fenland Council deals with one day strike

TWO of their four one-stop shops were closed but there were few other disruptions as Fenland District Council sought to put up a ‘business as usual’ front in defiance of a nationwide public sector worker strike.

“Fenland District Council have been preparing for the day of strike action to minimise the effect on services as far as possible,” said a spokesman.

“The majority of Fenland District Council services are operating normally albeit with reduced staffing in some areas. The Chatteris and Whittlesey Fenland @ your service shops are closed today and will reopen at 9am tomorrow (1 December).

“The Wisbech and March Fenland @ your service shops are open as usual, and the telephone contact centre is also available for any residents who are unable to attend their local Fenland @ your service shop on 01354 654321.

“All other services continue to operate as usual.

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“We will continue to monitor the situation and update customers if any changes occur throughout the day.”

Elsewhere across Fenland around 20 schools were closed but half that number remained open whilst in other instances some were only partially closed.

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In Cambridge more than 1,000public sector workers left Parker’s Piece today to march through Cambridge city centre.

Two feeder marches from Addenbrooke’s Hospital and Shire Hall congregated on Parker’s Piece shortly after 11am to show their solidarity in the biggest public sector walkout since the ‘Winter of Discontent’ in 1978-79.

A third march of hundreds of students and members of the University and College Union joined protesters on Parker’s Piece at midday in a demonstration against Government plans to make public sector workers pay more and work longer to earn their pensions.

More than 100 hospital appointments at Addenbrooke’s have been cancelled today as well as bin collections cancelled across the city centre.

Steve Sweeney, schools organiser for the Cambridgeshire branch of Unison, said: “I’m happy with the turnout. We had a successful picket line at Shire Hall this morning.

“I think George Osborne’s statement yesterday probably helped the turnout.”

Rob Bode, community mental health team leader for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Partnership Trust, said: “I just like to say I have never considered striking before. I have to be punched in the face repeatedly to fight back. Arguing over whether we get a two or three per cent pay rise is not important to me.

“But the NHS pensions were reformed a few years ago to make them sustainable for the future. It’s not just the people here affected; it’s for every NHS worker and public sector worker now and for years to come.”

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