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Tuesday, 21 October 2014

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Major strike will hit schools and services in West Cumbria

WORKINGTON people will be hit by school and public service closures on Thursday.

People in West Cumbria will be hit by school and public service closures on Thursday.

Unions will walk out in rows over pay, pensions and workloads.

Hundreds of teachers and school workers, firefighters, council workers and civil servants are expected to stop work for a day of action.

St Mary’s Primary School in Workington, Seaton Junior School, Derwent Vale Primary School in Great Clifton, Flimby Primary School and Broughton Primary School will shut as members of the National Union of Teachers and Unison strike.

Our Lady and St Patrick’s Primary School, Maryport, will be closed to years four, five and six but open to other pupils.

Most of Westfield Nursery and Primary School will be closed, but its nursery will remain open.

St Patrick’s Primary School, Workington, will be open but some classes may not be able to attend.

All Saints Primary School, Cockermouth, will be closed to children in years one, two, three and six. Other pupils can attend as normal.

Cockermouth School, Ashfield Junior School, Workington, Maryport Infant School, Maryport Junior School, Ellenborough and Ewanrigg Infant School and Grasslot Infant School in Maryport, Broughton Moor Primary School, Dearham Primary School, Dean School and Distington Community School are due to open.

Other schools are weighing up whether to close, but individual union members do not need to indicate whether they will work or not.

Pauline Robertson, executive headteacher of Victoria infant and junior schools, hoped the infant school would be open but warned it may be Thursday before she can judge whether the juniors can attend. Children could arrive and be turned away if there are not enough staff, she said.

She added: “I’m in support of what the unions are trying to do but I’m not sure if we can afford to be closed. We will be open unless we get an urgent change of direction.”

None of the town’s secondary schools could say if they would open.

Allerdale council’s customer service counters and areas including benefits, licensing and planning departments will be closed.

Allerdale House in Workington will remain open for anyone with pre-arranged meetings and the council’s customer services phone line will be manned, although advice available will be limited.

Bin collections, toilet cleaning and parks maintenance will continue.

The county council has no plans to close libraries, recycling centres, trading standards offices or other council offices in advance.

Firefighters will also strike. Dave Burn, chairman of the Fire Brigades Union in Cumbria, expects all members in the county to take part.

A fire service spokesman urged people to take extra care to avoid fires and accidents.

He said: “Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service’s response to incidents where life is considered to be in danger will be prioritised so we’re asking people to help us out by taking additional safety steps and not calling 999 unless it’s a genuine emergency.”

Public and Commercial Services Union members at the HM Revenue and Customs centre at Lillyhall will also strike against the Government’s proposed one per cent pay increase.

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