Staff at West Sussex County Council and Horsham District Council were on the picket line this morning (Thursday July 10) protesting about the Government’s latest pay deal.
The Government has offered public sector workers a one per cent pay rise - the first in three years - but the unions say this still means their members have had a 18 per cent real terms decrease in pay.
James Ellis, negotiations officer for Unison West Sussex, said: “Our claim is £1 an hour on all salary bands to bring salaries up to the living wage. Our members are having to claim state benefits just to make ends meet.
“Low paid workers are getting slightly more than one per cent because a one per cent pay rise would be below the minimum wage and illegal.”
Karen Johnston, Unison representative at County Hall North, added: “We feel very strongly that we have had a pay freeze for three years. It is important that we come out and strike at the moment.
“We are looking for fair pay for workers. We thank everyone for being here. We are supporting everybody who’s in a union especially very low paid workers.”
The GMB, National Union for Teachers, Unite and the Fire Brigade’s Union are all striking today.
Horsham’s Arunside Primary School, Millais School and North Heath Community Primary School have partial closures in place. Some classes in Billingshurst Primary School; St Peter’s CofE Primary School, Henfield; Storrington First School, Steyning Grammar School and The Weald, Billingshurst are also affected by partial closures. Upper Beeding Primary School is closed totally. The details of the FBU strikes and up-to-date information on school closures are on the West Sussex County Council website website
Horsham MP Francis Maude, cabinet office minister, has today criticised the unions for striking with such a low voter turnout.