Hands off our pensions

The 30th November 2011 Public Sector Pensions strikes were a huge success in our area, as in the rest of the country. Most local council services were closed as were all Burnley schools and almost all in the rest of our area. The Burnley, Pendle and Hyndburn Council Contact Centres were all closed as were all three council’s switchboards. Burnley Mechanics theatre was closed, a performance that had been schedulled for the day was re-arranged several weeks ago as it was soon clear how strong the support for the strike was. Padiham Leisure Centre was closed and although the St. Peter’s Centre opened with casual staff and non-union members they couldn’t open the swimming pool until quite late in the day and had to close it again at 4pm. Sadly the nature of the leisure industry is that there are a lot of very young staff who don’t join unions or the pension scheme so they were able to open.

The strike was solidly supported by UNISON members with only 2 or 3 crossing the picket lines. It was also supported by non-members with most also refusing to work. Only about 40 people worked in the entire council, barely 5% of the workforce, came in to work, mostly management or casual leisure staff.

It was the same in other workplaces. The hospital, police station, Chaddersley House and other county council buildings all had strong support and, particularly at the hospital, big picket lines.

There were also pickets at the college and one or two schools, though as all schools were closed most school staff didn’t bother to picket.

It was a similar picture in Pendle, Hyndburn and Rossendale.