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Walk Out Thursday Hits Cornwall

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12:34pm 10th July 2014
(Updated 12:34pm 10th July 2014)

 

 

A string of strikes is hitting Cornwall in a one-day super walkout.

Teachers, firefighters and ferry crews are among those taking action.

Around fifty schools in the Duchy are being hit from Bude to Bodmin and Saltash to St Agnes.

You can see the full list here.

David Cameron is warning the action will disrupt children's education - and it pledging to make it harder to take strike action.

Bude mum Jo has managed to sort out childcare but said a number of her friends had not been so lucky: "It is really hard. You have to try to fit them into the after school clubs if there's room. If not, they have to take time off work - or rely on friends. But most of them work - so it's a big struggle."

Pickets and protests are being organised in Truro and Plymouth by seven unions, joining forces for the day of action.

Cathy is a teacher in Truro. She said: "The whole way we want to educate our children is under attack. The way children are being tested at an earlier and earlier age, Mr Gove's idea to extend the school day to six o'clock - and that whole kind of driven philosophy of education that we see in China and countries like that."

Ian Williams, NUT Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Secretary and teacher, said “Teachers have suffered a 15% fall in their purchasing power under this Government whilst working on average 8 hours a week more with weekly workload now around 60 hours. 

"They pay 50% more for their pensions despite our view that the scheme is in surplus after earlier changes a few years ago and the Government refuses to have an independent valuation to show if this is the case or not – I wonder why?"

Marie is a teaching assistant at Gulval School, she said: "Normally when this happens our school don't strike, they just go with the flow, they're there for the children you see, and then parents have to have the day of work and stuff so they don't do it.

"They are there for the children, yes they've got the problem of pay and stuff but they like to stay there for continuity, they think its disruptive to the children's education, they're loyal so they just don't do it."

Kate owns a restaurant in Penzance, she said: "I understand why they're doing it, we are just preparing ourselves so that we've got a lot of safety measures in place to make sure we're not affected, everything is good here anyway but it's always good to be extra cautious.

"I have family in the fire service so I support them, but equally as a business owner you want to make sure that you are covered, so we will be taking extra measures just to make sure."

Meanwhile, firefighters are staging more strike action from 10am-7pm.

Cornwall's Chief Fire Officer Des Tidbury said: “Our contingency plans were tested during the last periods of strike action and we are currently updating the details of those plans to ensure that once again we remain focused on public and firefighter safety; providing the best service to the people of Cornwall within the limitations of the resources available to us and ensuring a quick return to normalisation.”

“This is a national dispute between members of the Fire Brigades Union and the Government over proposed changes to pensions and is not directed against Cornwall Council or Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service.  While the strike action will inevitably have an impact on the services we provide, I want to reassure you that residents in Cornwall will not be left without emergency cover in life threatening situations.”

Council staff are also taking part in action. That means the Torpoint ferries will not be running again properly until 6am on Friday.

Bosses warn there will be no services until 2pm, when they will consider whether they have enough staff to start operating. But they warn it is unlikely.

They will keep a service running for emergency vehicles

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12:34pm 10th July 2014

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