day of action

Pensions day of action in Harrogate

30 November 2011

day of actionThere was a day of widespread industrial action throughout the UK today with Harrogate Hospital, Council and College all effected.

Many of the schools in the region were also effected with a number being closed for the day.

Reflecting on the day, the Leader of Harrogate Borough Council, Don Mackenzie said:

The Overall attendance at work today at Harrogate Borough Council was between 75% and 80% of staff.

The highest attendance was at HIC with 82% coming into work to provide services for an important medical association conference.

Few service areas were significantly affected, except for:-

  • Revenues and Benefits where only telephone enquiries have been dealt with;
  • CCTV was not manned but images have been recorded;
  • Shopmobility closed but prior notice had been given;
  • Dog warden service unavailable;
  • Starbeck Pool which was closed all day;

All offices remained open, and whilst there was picketing taking place for a short time, no incidents were reported.

I am very pleased that we have been able to provide quite a full service today in almost all areas. I do apologise to those residents who may have been affected by today’s strike, but hope that they will understand that every effort was made to minimise disruption.

David Houlgate the Unison representative at Harrogate Borough Council added:

I’ve seen the comments from Cllr MacKenzie. I spoke to him briefly this morning and I acknowledged that we probably would not agree with each other on the need to take industrial action

We believe the support from staff was much higher than is normally the case.

I joined colleagues at Harrogate Hospital at lunchtime and the support from passers-by was phenomenal.

I must emphasise that some folk were taking industrial action for the first time in their lives simply because of the unfair proposals the government is wanting to bring in.

A spokesperson for Harrogate Hospital said:

The Trust has had to cancel a limited number of clinics, but the impact of the strike has been minimal. All essential services, including all critical areas, have run normally.

Doctors, RCN and RCM members were not on strike today.

Pickets were in evidence outside the Crescent Gardens Council buildings and Harrogate Hospital. The effect of the strike action was felt but the impact to services of it minimised. Both Harrogate Council and Hospital had undertaken pre-emptive planning.

Responding to David Cameron’s comments referring to the day being a “damp squib”, Dave Prentis, UNISON General Secretary, said:

I wouldn’t call two million people taking strike action a damp squib. Cameron is sounding increasingly desperate in his attacks on public service workers.

He has only to turn on the TV, or listen to the radio – or look out the window – to see the nurses, dinner ladies, paramedics, social workers, teaching assistants, lollipop ladies amongst others standing up for their pensions.

And the thousands of picket lines, demonstrations, rallies and events are not a figment of our imagination. These people are angry public servants who the Government has driven to the end of their tether.


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