Strikes hit public services

striking teachers outside west suffolk college

striking teachers outside west suffolk college

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A WAVE of industrial action has hit job centres, courts and schools as public sector workers staged a 24 hour strike.

Upto 750,000 people were expected to protest today at planned changes to pensions, which unions argue will result in greater contributions for a reduced pension.

Schools across West Suffolk were forced to close and others had to shut out complete year groups.

Bosses at West Suffolk College said the strike was ‘causing minimal disruption’.

A spokeswoman said: “Some classes have had to be rearranged but others are running as normal.”

Staff at Sebert Wood Primary, in Bury, stayed at work so that three major events could continue - a music concert at the Apex, sports day and parents’ evening.

Headteacher Richard Rice, said: “They are sympathetic to the strike but there was so much taking place today they decided not to strike. I am really grateful for that.”

Meanwhile, 75 per cent of staff at Jobcentre Plus, in Bury, were understood to have stayed away from work.

Derren Branson, Public and Commercial Services Union branch organiser for DWP Norfolk and Suffolk, said: “The extra contributions won’t be going to the pension pot but the Treasury to pay for the deficit. We’re being asked to pay for a crisis which we didn’t cause.”

A spokesman for the DWP said 98 per cent of claimants receive automated payments including pensioners and job seekers and they will continue to receive these payments.

He added: “Wherever possible Jobcentres will remain open to the public. Our contingency plans include prioritising our resources so that we can continue to make payments to people as normal. We will also maintain telephone services and where possible face to face services.”

Bury St Edmunds Magistrates’ Court operated as normal despite some staff taking action.