Strike action across the country
12:00am 10th May 2012
(Updated 8:09am 10th May 2012)
In total Up to 400-thousand public sector workers could walk out over public sector pension changes.
Six unions are taking action.
North Yorkshire Police Rally
One hundred and seventeen (117) off-duty police officers from North Yorkshire will march in London today (10th May 2012.)
The Police Federation of England and Wales has organised the protest to highlight concerns about the consequences of 20 % cuts for public safety and the disproportionate attack on policing by the government.
Police officers are extremely angry about the excessive budget cuts to policing and the way they are being treated by the government. The march will commence at Millbank, London at noon passing the Home Office, Parliament Square, Whitehall (Downing Street), Trafalgar Square, and will terminate at Waterloo Place.
The police budget has been cut by 20% and officers fear this will result in a poorer service for communities. The government is insisting savings need to be made for the greater good of the economy. However, police officers have already made a significant contribution to tackle the national debt. According to HMIC the police service will lose over 16,000 warranted officers over the next four years, £163 million is being taken from police pay this year alone, pension contributions have been increased and a two-year public sector pay freeze has been imposed on police officers.
Mark Botham Chair of North Yorkshire Police Federation says:
"The reality of the cuts to policing is really beginning to bite. It is less than a year since the president of the Association of Chief Police Officers, Sir Hugh Orde spoke at Harrogate and warned that cuts and plans for reforming the police service risk "compromising the safety of citizens for reasons of expediency.
"In February 2012 local media reported that *North Yorkshire Police has shed one in 25 police officer jobs as it works to balance the books after a 20 per cent cut in Government funding.*
"North Yorkshire Police Authority plans to save £11m from police staff costs, £11m from police officer costs and at least £6m from reducing overheads. We had 1,656 serving officers in 2007 and that figure has already fallen to 1500 in 2010 and to 1,443 in 2011 and is forecast to drop to 1270 by 2015.
"Let us be clear, 1,270 police officers when the population is increasing is not sustainable. It will be very challenging and the service will be compromised
"Nationally there will be a reduction of 16000 police officers, that is like removing all police officers from North Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, Humberside and Cleveland. We are witnessing the privatisation of core policing roles as chief officers struggle to cope with budget restraints.
"It is a bitter irony that in the year of the Diamond Jubilee we are heading towards 1970s levels of police officer numbers being expected to deal with 21st century problems, The government need to be realistic about the outcome of severe cuts to policing; we cannot afford to compromise on public safety."
Public Sector strike gets York campaigners' support
York Stop the Cuts have organised a march today (Thursday 10th May 2012) in support of the public sector pension strike taking place at two of the city's largest education institutions as well as health and civil service workplaces.
Assembling at noon on the Eye of York, protesters will march into the city centre for a rally on Parliament Street where local workers and service users will offer a united message in support of the strikes.
"Public sector workers are taking strike action in defiance of government plans to change their pension policy, making workers pay more get less and work longer. However, this isn't the only reason: if you ask workers, we are angry about privatisation and cuts to services that communities rely on and are determined to stop the race to the bottom in wages, pensions and conditions for all workers, public or private" said factory worker and student Ben Mayor.
Earlier in the day, members of the group will be delivering food and drinks to picket lines in an act of solidarity dubbed 'Operation Refresh Pickets'. They will use St Lawrence Church Hall on Lawrence Street as their base of operations.
The Unions are angry because they argue the pensions fund was already solvent, and there is growing fear that efforts to push the burden of pension schemes onto staff is designed to make services easier to privatise.
Those taking strike action on Thursday include the PCS civil service union, UCU at York College and York St John, and health workers in UNITE. The unifying issue has been a deal on pensions that was forced upon the unions just before Christmas which sees members paying in more for longer and getting less out.
Details from York College of Industrial Action (Thursday 10th May 2012)
Members of UCU have voted for a national day of Industrial Action on Thursday 10th May, over the proposed changes to the Teachers' Pension Schemes.
Having assessed the potential impact of this action, York College will open as usual and has taken measures to ensure a safe and secure environment for students and staff.
Classes will go ahead as normal, although there may be restrictions to some lessons.
The College Nursery, Construction Centre at Osbaldwick and the Rail Academy will also operate as normal.
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