Redbridge Strikes: unions prepare for town hall rally
Thousands of public sector workers in Redbridge are striking today over what they say is a government attack on their pensions.
All but one state-run primary school is closed or partially closed this morning, with most secondary schools shut, hospital appointments cancelled and court hearings suspended.
Members of the PCS Union who work at the Job Centre, High Road, Seven Kings were joined by Clementswood Cllr Muhammed Javed at a picket line from 8am. A sign informed people that services would be disrupted at the centre.
Union member Tasneem Kiani told the Recorder: “It is bad that not only have we got to pay more in pension contributions, we have had a pay freeze and now we’ve learnt they will cap any pay increase by one per cent.
“We are not highly paid in the civil service, and the only thing that sold the job was the good pension scheme.
“They want to make us work until we are 68 to get our pensions.”
Despite the noisy protest, as some passing cars honked their horns in support, a number of staff crossed the picket line. As she entered the building one said: “If you pay me my day’s wages I’ll strike with you.”
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Cllr Javed said: “This government scheme will actually cost the taxpayer more in the long term.”
Deputy leader of the council Cllr Ian Bond turned to the Twitter website this morning to write: “Most public sector workers get more back from the state as annual (cost/value of) pension benefit than they themselves pay in income tax.”
London Ambulance Service said simply “Under pressure – only call an ambulance in an emergency.” They added they have only 60 per cent of staff to respond to emergency calls.
Striking members will converge on Redbridge Town Hall, High Road, Ilford at 11.30am.
Ilford South MP Mike Gapes will visit the picket line at King George Hospital, Barley Lane, Goodmayes, before speaking at a rally at the town hall from 11.30am until 12.30pm, before he heads to Parliament to represent his constituents.
For more information on affected council services visit www.redbridge.gov.uk.