PENSIONS STRIKE: Staff set up picket lines

STAFF at the Environment Agency are among hundreds of people taking part in strike action today (Wednesday, November 30).

Wednesday, 30th November 2011, 7:17 am

Catherine Tonge, branch secretary for the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS), was on the picket line outside the Environment Agency. She works for Natural England, the government statutory advisory body charged with protecting and improving England’s natural environment.

She said: “PCS is a bit different. We are not just out for pensions, we also believe there are alternatives to cuts, things like collecting uncollected taxes, and administering taxes fairly.”

When asked what she would say to people who asked why she and the other 10 or so people on their picket line, she added: “We else can we do?

“All the social inventions, including pensions, maternity leave, sick pay and the NHS have come from the unions movement. This is a last resort.”

Picket lines have been set up at public sector work places across Worthing, Shoreham and Littlehampton, as workers protest over cuts to their pensions.The trade union picket lines are at the following locations:

Centenary House, Durrington

Cissbury Lodge, Worthing

County Hall, Chichester

County Hall North, Horsham

Durban House, Bognor Regis

Glebelands, Shoreham

Worthing and District Trades Union Council will be marching through the town at lunchtime. The march will leave St Paul’s Centre in Chapel Road at noon and pass Worthing Hospital at about 12.30pm.

Many schools across the area are closed today. Here is a full list of the closures.

The strike is also disrupting West Sussex County Council services today. Read more about the disruption here.

Keep checking the Herald and Gazette websites for all the latest on the strike action.