Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Somerset : UK's Biggest Ever Ond Day Strike Begins In Somerset

Normal life in the West will be put on hold today as the biggest one-day strike in a generation affects everything from school lessons and hospital appointments to driving tests and rubbish collections.

Tens of thousands of public sector workers across the region will be walking out in protest at changes to pensions, and with the Government’s announcement of a pay rise cap further angering public workers yesterday, more strikes like today’s seem increasingly likely in the months to come.
The biggest effect of the strike will be felt by parents, as hundreds of schools across the region close for the day. The total number of schools closing was still being assessed last night, with some headteachers left in the dark over whether their staff would strike or not.

But yesterday, more than three-quarters of secondary schools and the vast majority of primary schools had already told parents they would be closed for the day, and all the others had warned of partial closures. In some parts of the West, special ‘strike clubs’ have been set up for the day in leisure centres, but for tens of thousands of parents the strike will mean emergency childcare or taking the day off work themselves.

Ambulance chiefs warned people dialling 999 for emergency medical care to think twice, and only call if it is ‘a life-threatening injury or serious medical emergency’ throughout the day.
The Great Western Ambulance Service tried to reassure people that the 999 service would be ‘safe and effective’, but warned there could be problems as its staff decide whether or not to strike.

“GWAS is also urging those with less serious clinical conditions to seek the help they need elsewhere, rather than calling 999,” said interim chief executive Ken Wenman. “Our staff are passionate about patient care, but also feel strongly for their pensions.”

With more different unions than ever before joining the one-day strike action, disruption could happen in any aspect of public service. In law and order, police community support officers could strike along with police civilian workers, but police officers themselves can not strike.
Court officials and prison officers are also stepping out on strike, which could disrupt court hearings, people trying to access services at places like Job Centres could be hit, while people taking their driving tests today have been told to turn up as usual, but warned their test might be cancelled when they get more