Council services to be hit by strike

COUNCIL services in South Tyneside will grind to a halt tomorrow as a public sector pay strike begins.

Unison members across the country have voted for action because they're angry at a below inflation 2.45 per cent pay offer. They have been backed by several other unions.

Leaders of the Local Government Association (LGA) say the deal is unaffordable to taxpayers and councils, and if the award was increased, councils would be forced to choose between cutting services or staff.

Most of the borough's primary, secondary and special schools are expected to close.

All leisure facilities and libraries, as well as some community centres, will be shut.

South Shields and Jarrow Town Halls, Hebburn Civic Centre and the Central Library Building, South Shields, will be closed to the public, and the council's customer contact centre will be shut.

There will be no bin collection service. Rubbish normally collected tomorrow and Thursday will be picked up the following week

Most day care centres and adult training centres will be closed.

All burials and cremations in South Tyneside will be unaffected by the strike, and car parks and public toilets will be open as normal.

The Tyne Tunnel will remain open, and the Metro is not affected.

Merv Butler, chairman of Unison's northern regional local government group, said: "Our members are determined to see fair pay for themselves.

"South Tyneside Council is an excellent council, and the workers should be rewarded for that.

"We have negotiated with the council to cover emergency services, adult and children's services."

Due to an administrative error by Unison, the strike will not directly affect South Tyneside Homes.