Sunderland will be hit hard by public sector workers’ strike

Teachers will be among the thousands of public sector workers on strike next Wednesday
Teachers will be among the thousands of public sector workers on strike next Wednesday
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SCHOOLS, swimming pools, libraries and even market stalls will shut as public sector workers walk out over pensions.

Sunderland City Council chiefs today warned people to prepare for widespread disruption on Wednesday, as a result of national industrial action.

Members of Britain's University and College Union (UCU) pose for members of the media as they prepare for their union strike and march scheduled for Thursday as they prepare in their headquarters in north London, Wednesday, June 2, 2011.  Thousands of British schools will close and travelers will face long lines at airport immigration this week when three quarters of a million workers go on strike - the first blast in what unions hope will be a summer of discontent against the cost-cutting government's austerity plans. The first test comes when 750,000 public-sector workers - from teachers to driving examiners to customs officials - walk out for the day, part of a growing wave of opposition to the Conservative-led government's deficit-cutting regime of tax hikes, benefit curbs and spending cuts. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

Members of Britain's University and College Union (UCU) pose for members of the media as they prepare for their union strike and march scheduled for Thursday as they prepare in their headquarters in north London, Wednesday, June 2, 2011. Thousands of British schools will close and travelers will face long lines at airport immigration this week when three quarters of a million workers go on strike - the first blast in what unions hope will be a summer of discontent against the cost-cutting government's austerity plans. The first test comes when 750,000 public-sector workers - from teachers to driving examiners to customs officials - walk out for the day, part of a growing wave of opposition to the Conservative-led government's deficit-cutting regime of tax hikes, benefit curbs and spending cuts. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

Chief executive Dave Smith said it was likely that most of the authority’s normal services will be hit, and most council buildings will closed to the public.

“This is a national dispute affecting public services across the country.

“And although it’s not entirely clear at this stage how many employees will take part in the industrial action, we are anticipating widespread disruption to council services and we are planning ahead on that basis,” he said.

Most schools will close for the day, with headteachers contacting parents directly to let them know whether or not their school will be open.

All the council’s customer service centres are likely to be closed along with libraries, children’s centres, leisure centres and Wellness gyms.

Bin collections are expected to be axed, with services returning to normal on December 1.

Jackie White’s Market, which is in council property, will have to close for the day.

Dr Smith said: “We will be doing everything we can to protect the most vulnerable members of the community, and ensure that services to them are maintained.

“We ask members of the public to bear with us during this time and we apologise for any disturbance to normal services resulting from this national dispute.”

He added it is likely there will be no telephone service for contacting the council on strike day, but the authority will have special hotlines in event of an emergency.

The council boss said while it looked likely industrial action will go ahead, there is still “some possibility” national discussions between the trade unions and the Government may avert the strike.

He said further updates will be issued if necessary.

Information will be available, as usual, on the council’s website at www.sunderland.gov.uk.

Normal services will resume from 8am on December 1.

Sunderland University has also announced it will close on Wednesday.

COUNCIL buildings likely to be closed to the public during the strike are:

* The Civic Centre.

* Customer Service Centres at Fawcett Street, Bunny Hill, Ryhope, Shiney Row, Washington, Houghton, Southwick, Highfield, Sandhill and the Hetton Centre.

* Wellness Centres at Bunny Hill, Sunderland Aquatic Centre, Sunderland Tennis Centre, Seaburn, Hetton and Houghton.

* Tourist Information Centre.

* Sunderland Register Office.

* Swimming pools and leisure centres.

* Libraries.

* Jackie White’s Market.

* Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens.

* Washington Arts Centre.

* Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art.