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Q&A: Public Workers' Strike

Q&A: Public Workers' Strike

What is the strike about?

Tens of thousands of council workers and civil servants will strike in disputes over pay today. Unison and Unite said they expected more than half a million workers to join the 48-hour walkout this morning in protest at a rejected 2.45% pay offer.

What will be affected?

The walkout by members of three unions will lead to the closure of schools, libraries, museums and civic offices across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, while refuse collections will be cancelled and a host of other services disrupted.

How far are they willing to negotiate?

Local government employers have reiterated that the 2.45% was the final offer, warning that a bigger rise would have to be funded through higher council taxes or cuts in services.

What form will the protests take?

A series of rallies will be held by council workers across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, including Norwich, Cambridge, Leicester, London, Newcastle, Belfast, Portsmouth, Brighton, Bristol, Cardiff, Swansea, Sheffield and York.

Is there another pay dispute happening at the same time?

Yes, in a separate pay row, members of the Public and Commercial Services union, including driving test examiners and coastguards will take industrial action in the next few days. Driving test examiners will strike today, while staff at the Valuation Office Agency will take industrial action today and Thursday. Home Office and Land Registry workers will strike for part of Friday, coastguards will launch a 48-hour stoppage on Friday while employees at the Identity and Passport Service will strike for 72 hours from July 23.

Is there a more specific breakdown of the council services which will be hit by the strike?

A number of schools in Poole, Dorset, will be fully or partially closed on one or both days of the industrial action, while refuse collections and access to planning offices will be affected. Staff at Poole council and Hampshire county council reached an agreement with Unison for key staff to turn up for work as normal in critical services such as social care and child protection.

In Bournemouth, 14 schools will close on both days, and libraries are expected to be shut.

Around 14 schools will be closed or partially closed in Southampton.

The strike will disrupt a wide range of council services across Devon and Cornwall.

In Newcastle, refuse collection services are expected to be "severely disrupted", as will street sweeping. Many council buildings will also be shut, including libraries and some leisure centres. Two thirds of schools - a total of 67 - will be closed because of the strike in the city.

In Northumberland, the county council said some schools and libraries would be closed, although home care and social services would be operating unaffected.

Redcar and Cleveland council said refuse collections would be disrupted, while in County Durham, more than 50 schools, libraries and some leisure centres will be closed.

In Wolverhampton, more than 40 schools will be closed or partially closed, and household refuse, green garden waste and kerbside recycling will not be collected.

All libraries in Stoke-On-Trent will be closed, as well as eight schools.

Coventry city council said 12 schools will close and refuse collections disrupted, 14 schools will close or partially close in Staffordshire, nine in Worcestershire and a similar number between Herefordshire and Shropshire, where daycare centres and libraries will also be hit.

Unison expects most schools in Wales to be closed during the two-day strike and a host of council services affected.

Gloucestershire county council said 12 of its 41 libraries would be closed, while Bristol's City Museum and Art Gallery will shut and 38 schools in the city will be hit by full or partial closures.

Rubbish collections and recycling services in Bath will not be operating.

In Leeds, around 30 schools will be closed along with the main library and an assortment of community centres and recycling sites, while in Doncaster, 70% of schools will be fully closed.

In Hull, 38 schools will fully or partially close and two libraries will be shut.

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