Strikes set to affect Chichester district

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ATTEMPTS to protect ‘critical frontline services’ are being prepared as more than two million people get set to strike across the country.

Unison, the National Union of teachers, the GMB and Unite are all striking on Thursday (July 10).

Speaking to the Observer last week, a West Sussex County Council spokesman said: “We are continuing to work with unions to ensure we can maintain critical frontline services for our residents.

“However, at this stage we do not know exactly how many people will be taking part in the proposed industrial action on July 10.

“We do anticipate there will be school closures and it is inevitable there will be some disruption to services across the day.

“Our call centre will remain open and there will also be emergency numbers available for people.

“Further information will be available on our website in the run-up to and during the strike.”

Local authority workers and teachers will all strike in continuing disputes over pay.

As well as affecting council services, schools could be forced to close as teachers join the industrial action.

West Sussex warned parents to ‘expect disruption’ at a number of schools.

“Parents are being advised to check with their child’s school to see what impact the action is likely to have and whether the school will be closed or partially closed to some classes,” said a council spokeswoman.

Meanwhile a spokeswoman for Chichester District Council said: “At this stage, it is very difficult to say what impact, if any, the strike will have on our services.”

The GMB has described the strike as the ‘second-biggest dispute ever, with up to two million workers on strike’, adding that its members were left with ‘no choice’ other than to take industrial action.

GMB national secretary Brian Strutton said: “GMB members serving school meals, cleaning streets, emptying bins, looking after the elderly, helping children in classrooms and in all the other vital roles serving our communities are fed up with being ignored and undervalued.

“Their pay has gone up only one per cent since 2010 and in October even the national minimum wage will overtake local authority pay scales.

“Their case is reasonable, the employers won’t listen and don’t care, no wonder they have turned to strike action as the only way of making their voices heard.”

Chichester District Council encouraged residents to visit its website for updates on the strike impacts.

People can also go to for updates.

People can find details of any school closures or partial closures on the West Sussex County Council website or by checking individual school websites.

Decisions whether to close a school for the day will be taken by individual head teachers and governing bodies and will depend on whether there are appropriate staffing arrangements in place to ensure pupils’ safety.

Don’t forget to check the Observer website over the next couple of days for the latest information on school closures and other services affected by strikes.