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Business as usual despite strikes, say council chiefs
THE unions claimed the strikes were a hard-hitting show of anger, but last night local government and authority bosses insisted there had been no real impact on public services.
County human resources boss Councillor Stephen Reid said last night the overall impact of the unions’ strike on had been ‘minimal’ and frontline services continued on.
He said: “While we could not be certain until Wednesday exactly how many staff would join the strike because they do not have to inform us in advance, the situation today is as we had anticipated.”
The county council claimed yesterday afternoon that a total of 293 workers walked out – 2.3 per cent of its 12,600 workforce.
This was mostly in adult social care services as well as library workers, although all but three libraries remained open.
Unions claimed the council’s figures were too low as many would be striking on shifts later in the day and would not be included.
The figures also excluded the number of teachers who went out from 51 county council schools which were disrupted or completely closed.
Southampton City Council was unable to comment on how many of its staff went on strike.
But the bins in Southampton were not collected as refuse workers joined the action and all its libraries shut. Some 70 schools in its area were disrupted or closed.
In Eastleigh, council chiefs said strike numbers had not been collated and that all services have run as normal except waste and recycling collections.
Council Leader Keith House said: “I very much regret this national strike action. The only people that may be affected are some local residents and businesses.
“We will do everything we can to minimize any disruption to our services.”
Bins were collected in Gosport because its borough council outsources its collection services.
About 180 out of its 274 staff went out, which equated to 66 per cent of the workforce.
In Fareham just 14 per cent of the workforce went on strike.
A council spokesman said: “We would expect few residents to have noticed any change in the delivery of our services.
It has been more or less business as usual.
“This is partly due to a low number of employees opting to strike and having a reliable contingency strategy in place.”
But over in Test Valley Borough none of its 446 staff went out on strike.
Winchester City Council was unavailable for comment.