Strikers to halt services in city


CITY schools could close and hospital services will be reduced on Wednesday in the biggest public sector strike for decades.

Public sector bosses are drawing up plans to cope with a mass walkout which will see teachers, council workers and hospital staff strike in a row over pensions.

Unions are predicting most of Wakefield’s schools will close, along with the city’s courts, libraries and non-emergency services at Pinderfields Hospital.

Joanne Roney, Wakefield Council’s chief executive, said disruption was inevitable.

She said: “People are advised to put out rubbish and recycling bins for collection as normal but there is no guarantee at this stage that they will be emptied. Parents and carers need to contact their children’s nurseries, children’s centres and schools direct for the most up to date position.”

Unions balloted their members in row over controversial pension reforms.

The government plans increase pension contributions and raise retirement ages, claiming public sector pensions are not affordable. Unions dispute this and have accused the government of failing to negotiate properly.

Strikers will march from the Vine Tree car park, Leeds Road, at 11am on Wednesday for a public rally in the Cathedral precinct at 12 noon.

Sally Kincaid, divisional secretary of the National Union of Teachers (NUT), said: “It is important that we not only stand together in terms of withdrawing our labour, but we also show the government how united we are by taking to the streets to stop this pensions robbery. We would like to see private sector workers join us.”

The NUT has asked that cash saved on teachers’ wages during the strike is donated to the Hornsea Support Group, which is campaigning to save an East coast teaching centre.