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MP condemns "shameful" strike plans
An MP has condemned firefighters, teachers and local government workers planning to take part in a “shameful” national strike tomorrow.
The joint action is likely to be the biggest public sector strike since 2010 with members from several large unions participating in the walkout.
Witham MP Priti Patel said: “It’s shameful that trade unions want to disrupt learning in our schools and withdraw frontline services like rubbish collections.
“Pupils, parents and the general public who rely on these services should not have to suffer because of the political games of militant union leaders.
“Out of touch fat cat trade union barons on six-figure salaries are behaving disgracefully by trying to force their members to lose a day’s pay in their desperate attempt to score political points.”
A public sector pay freeze was introduced in 2010 followed by a 1% pay rise in 2012, but with inflation at 1.5% workers say this amounts to a pay cut.
Refuse collections across the district are likely to be affected as council lorry drivers belonging to the GMB union take strike action.
Doug Rigby, of the Braintree GMB, said: “This is not an attack on Braintree district council because I think they have been very good to us, or on the residents.
“Nobody wants to lose money but we have been losing money for a long time because we haven’t had a pay rise.”
Agnes Bishop, secretary of Braintree and District NUT, said schools may be forced to close.
She said: “We are not just fighting for our pay and pensions, it is the education of our students that is concerning us. They are expecting us to work until we are 68, which will impact on the student’s learning.
“We don't want to strike but it is the only thing left, we don't do it lightly because we all lose a day’s pay.”
In addition to this week’s walkout the Fire Brigades Union has announced a series of 15 strikes taking place over eight consecutive days starting on July 14.
The firefighter’s strike is part of a long-running battle with the government over changes to pensions.