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Public sector workers to stage mass demonstration at Wallasey town hall
A MASS demonstration is set to take place at Wallasey town hall this lunchtime as teachers and public sectors stage a one-day strike over in a row over pay and working conditions.
Strikes are currently being held at a number of locations across Wirral, including Europa Pool in Birkenhead, the Land Registry Office, Wallasey town hall and in West Kirby.
Workers are handing out leaflets to passers-by outlining their reasons for striking, which include not receiving a pay rise in four years and increased workloads.
Mike Thorning, from Unite, is one of those striking in Birkenhead, where leisure service workers from Europa Pool, The Oval and Wirral Tennis Centre, are attracting numerous beeps from drivers.
"The main points for why we're striking are that we haven't had a raise for four years," said Mike.
"The cost of living has gone up and we have all had our pay cut as overtime rates have been changed and we've been made to take four days unpaid leave, which was compulsory.
"Nothing has changed for us, it is just getting worse for us all because work loads are increasing.
"The council has just announced 500 redunancies which will be going by December."
Pickets from across Wirral are due to converge at Wallasey Town Hall at 12pm today, Thursday, in a mass campaign for fair pay.
A substantial number of schools across the borough have been closed today, with libraries, leisure centres, tourist information centres, children's centres and day centres also shut.
Wirral Council said this week that the action will have a "significant impact" on the delivery of its services.
Courts are also expected to cancel a number of cases with job centres and tax offices also set to remain closed for the day.
Services delivered on the council’s behalf by private contractors – such as bin collections and highway maintenance – are not expected to be affected.
Williamson Art Gallery and Museum will close as will Birkenhead Priory and visitor centres at Wirral Country Park and Birkenhead Park.
The industrial action – triggered by growing union anger over Government austerity measures involves members of Unison, Unite the Union, the National Union of Teachers, GMB, PCS and the Fire Brigades Union.
Peter Glover, NUT executive member for Cheshire and Merseyside, said: “Teachers don’t want to strike, they just want to do their best for children. But enough is enough.
John Lewis, Unison North West’s head of local government, said: “A decent pay rise for local government and school support staff is long overdue. People are really struggling on poverty pay.
“People don’t go on strike lightly, but our members see no alternative to taking action now. It shows there is a groundswell of opinion that people have had enough of austerity and are not prepared to tolerate it any longer.”
A full list of school and service closures can be found here.