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Thousands join public sector strike across Bradford district
Buy this photo » Pickets outside Bradford College
Striking public sector workers have warned it will be a summer of discontent if the Govern-ment does not “sit up and listen”.
Pickets were staged across Bradford yesterday in protest at the long-running row over pensions.
And 200 off-duty police officers from Bradford and Keighley were in London joining 30,000 others at a rally protesting at potential cuts to their pay and conditions and fears about job security.
In total, thousands of workers across the district took part in the national day of action, including NHS staff, lecturers and college workers.
Only a handful of staff were reported to be out on strike at Bradford Royal Infirmary. A spokesman for Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said no services there had been affected.
Members of Unite, the Public and Commercial Services union and the University and College Union were demonstrating their anger at changes to their pensions.
President Jackie Green, Bradford president of the Public and Commercial Services Ministry of Justice, who was outside Bradford Crown Court, said the strike shut the Crown Court’s reception, forcing senior managers to step in to keep some courts open.
Mrs Green said: “We are here because changes mean our members are having to pay more contributions to their pensions, work longer and will get less for it at the end of their working life.
“Today’s action is just one day but we have a whole programme planned – it will be a summer of discontent.”
In London, the West Yorkshire Police Federation, which represents rank-and-file officers, had about 700 of its members joining up to 30,000 of their off-duty counterparts from across England and Wales for the rally which included a two-hour march around central London.
The Federation says West Yorkshire has lost 550 officers in the last two years through ‘natural wastage’ who had not been replaced.
Andrew Tempest-Mitchell, chairman of the West Yorkshire Police Federation, said: “The Government needs to sit up and see they cannot ride roughshod over us, they have to show us respect. This action is just the start.”
Federation members are disappointed with the Govern-ment’s 20 per cent cuts in policing and recommendations on changes for pay and conditions.
West Yorkshire Police will have £100 million cut from its budget from 2012 to 2015 and has lost £33 million this year.