Hampshire County Council is making preparations following the national decision for members of the unions GMB, UNISON and UNITE to strike, on Thursday 10 July 2014.
This is a national dispute, over the pay offer of a 1 per cent increase offered to Local Government employees (excluding teachers). The NUT teacher union is also in an on-going dispute with the Government over reforms to the education sector, as well as teachers’ pay, conditions and pensions. Therefore, NUT members are also expected to join the industrial action.
Leader of Hampshire County Council, Councillor Roy Perry, said: “Our priority is to the vulnerable people of Hampshire and children in our care, and rest assured that the County Council will do everything possible to ensure that they will continue to be well looked-after throughout the period of industrial action.
“Therefore, the County Council is making every effort to ensure the impact on services is kept to a minimum – with as little disruption as possible – and we are taking appropriate steps to ensure that essential frontline services will continue to be provided. This involves agreeing with the Trade Unions, a number of exemptions for staff engaged in the provision of critical services such as the safeguarding of vulnerable children and adults in our care.”
The Council has written to all staff to inform them of the employment effects of participation in the action. Headteachers and managers within the County Council have been asked to ascertain ahead of the day of action, whether any employees will be striking and the likely impact on their school or service area, including whether this means that they will need to make a decision whether to close or partially close their school. This is to enable parents and carers to be advised in advance, if possible, so that they can make alternative arrangements where required.
“It is recognised that the industrial action could impact on some of our staff who have children at affected schools”, said Councillor Perry. “There is the potential for some schools to be closed or to be only partially open.
“Unless staff are actually taking part in the industrial action or have pre-agreed leave, we expect our staff to attend for work on the day of the action. For some, this will mean considering childcare arrangements where their children’s schools may be affected by the action. We have advised our staff to plan ahead for this. We have also advised our staff to speak with their managers and discuss alternative arrangements where it has not been possible to make provision for their children. Some staff may be able to work from home: some may need us to be flexible on their hours of attendance at their usual place of work. We will try to be understanding and flexible wherever possible.”
Schools and Education Centres have been advised to use the County Council’s usual procedures to notify parents and the Council of any closures, or other arrangements such as partial closures – by updating full details on the County Council school closures website. On the day of industrial action parents to should also check these webpages to see if their child’s school may have been affected.
Updates on services on the day will also be provided via the County Council’s Twitter feed @hantsconnect.