Striking public sector workers came together for a rally outside County Hall in Trowbridge today, as services across Wiltshire were disrupted by the day of strike action.
Teachers, firefighters and council workers from across Wiltshire joined the picket line to protest over pay, conditions and pensions, with a rally organised by Unison attended by around 70 public sector workers.
Unison said local government workers have not had a pay rise in three years. The Government this year offered them a one per cent rise, but the offer was refused.
Gavin Brooks, regional organiser for Unison South West, said: “A lot of our members are struggling financially and we are hoping that through strike action we can achieve the pay their commitment deserves.
“It’s always a last resort for us and for a lot of our members it is never an easy decision, as they lose pay for the day, but that just shows how strongly they feel about the current situation.
The National Union of Teachers was among those striking over pay and workloads, with primary and secondary schools across the county experiencing disruption.
Teachers at Bradford on Avon’s St Laurence School joined other public sector workers on the day of strike action, with the school closed to Year 9 and 10.
Wiltshire secretary of the NUT Mike Harrison said: “There are a number of reasons our members are striking, including pay, pensions and workloads, but the Secretary of State for Education Michael Gove has refused to meet with us and discuss our concerns.”
Wiltshire Council estimated that up to 3,000 homes went without bin collections yesterday, as refuse workers joined the day of mess strike action.
Libraries and schools were also been closed as staff took to the picket line, while firefighters joined the walkout over a long-running dispute over pensions.
Guy Tadman, watch manager at Trowbridge Fire Station, said: “This dispute has gone on for three years now. No one wants to strike, but we have to do what we can to safeguard the future of the profession.”