STRIKE: It was largely ‘business as usual’

Passer-by Lynne Pickering hears from South Holland Unison branch secretary Lynda Pearson in Hall Place, Spalding, on Wednesday.
Passer-by Lynne Pickering hears from South Holland Unison branch secretary Lynda Pearson in Hall Place, Spalding, on Wednesday.

THE threat of major disruption to public services failed to materialise in South Holland as hundreds of workers went out on strike yesterday.

Parents of children at the dozens of schools which closed as a result of teachers walking out were the hardest hit, with many being forced to take a day off work.

But emergency services say 999 responses were not affected and only about 30 staff at South Holland District Council did not go to work.

Council leader Gary Porter said: “Most people were quite sensible about it and didn’t bother so we had no disruption to services.

“I think most people might have sympathy for them over wages but you can’t have sympathy with them on pensions.”

Unison South Holland branch secretary Lynda Pearson and a couple of colleagues were out and about in Spalding town centre yesterday, talking to people and hoping to help them understand the reasons for industrial action.

A number of unions voted to take action in protest at plans to change public sector workers’ pensions to make them pay more, work longer and get less.

Mrs Pearson said: “A lot of people were very supportive, we only had a couple who weren’t. Many people didn’t understand the issues, so we were able to explain and it was definitely worthwhile.”

United Lincolnshire Hospital Trust, which is responsible for Pilgrim Hospital, Boston, said some staff had chosen to strike, but it was able to continue running a normal service, despite some pressure on beds because of the busy time of year.

Lincolnshire Community Health Services NHS Trust, which runs Spalding’s Johnson Hospital reported only a small number of staff on strike and no effect on patients or services.

Insp Chris Davison, of Spalding Police, said as far as he was aware no members of staff from the town’s police station were absent as a result of industrial action and it was business as usual.

He also said officers had not had any reports of street protests.

The fire service was not affected and East Midlands Ambulance Service said it had brought extra staff on duty and mobilised clinically qualified managers to provide support for ambulances to make up any shortfall caused by absent workers.