Town hall bosses trying to arrange emergency cover for Thursday's strikes
NEGOTIATIONS are taking place to ensure emergency cover is in place for Bolton’s most vulnerable residents when council workers walk out on strike.
But Bolton Council’s chief executive, Sean Harriss, insists it has not resulted from a “dispute” specifically with the local authority.
Mr Harriss stressed that Bolton Council’s staff are walking out of work on July 10 as part of a national dispute and that the council has been preparing for the possibility of disruption for “over a month”.
He added that negotiations have been conducted with striking trade unions to ensure emergency cover is still provided to help vulnerable members of the community.
Unison, Unite and GMB have opted to strike in protest at the National Employers’ pay offer of one per cent for 2014/15.
The National Union of Teachers (NUT) is striking on the same day as part of its on-running dispute with the government over pensions, pay and conditions of service.
Many schools in Bolton are currently finalising plans over whether to close for the day and parents should consult the Schools Directory on bolton.gov.uk Mr Harriss said: “The most important thing from my point of view is that this is a national dispute and not related to any specific grievances with Bolton Council.
“Libraries, children’s centres, adults’ centres, refuse collection — all these things the public would seek to access will not take place.
“I want to make sure that people are aware of what is going to happen. We are putting on emergency cover to provide essential services. We have held constructive discussions with the trade unions ensuring that there is minimal cover to help vulnerable children and adults.”
All council staff who are not members of a union have been offered work elsewhere for the day if their department is shut.
Bolton Council is signed up to National Employers and Unison has argued the council should have done more to influence their pay offer.
Mr Harriss said: “A set of national negotiations has been completed. A pay offer has been made and trade unions are in dispute with that.”
Bolton Council’s telephone service will be limited on Thursday, but anyone with an emergency should contact the council on 01204 333333 between 8am and 5.30pm.