Strikes fail to disrupt many council services

More
than half of local government staff went to work yesterday and many services
were unaffected, according to the Employers’ Organisation for Local Government
(EOfLG).

The
organisation said the spread of the strike was patchy and most councils were
able to manage without too much disruption.

Nationally,
more than 75 per cent of schools stayed open and the picture was similar for
other services.

The
EOfLG said that in parts of the country, such as the North East, there was
support for the strike but across much of the country it was minimal.

Brian
Baldwin, chairman of the EOfLG, said: "The unions’ inflation-busting pay
demand has not won support from most council workers.

"More
than half of the 1.2 million council workers turned up for work as usual.  Three-quarters of schools stayed open and
most people who didn’t have their rubbish collected today will shortly have it
cleared.

"Councils
don’t have a secret stash of cash to better what is a very reasonable and fair
3 per cent offer. It is three times the rate of current inflation. There is no
more money today than there was yesterday.

"The
unions have raised the issue of meeting ACAS. We have not been invited by ACAS
to meet with them, but we have briefed them over the phone. If ACAS wants to
talk to us in the future we would be happy to do so. But 3 per cent remains our
final offer. It is all that councils can afford."

By Paul Nelson

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