South Wales disrupted by strike action

30 November 2011, 07:14

It's a day of disruption in South Wales as public sector workers go on strike in a row over pensions.

The UK-wide day of action will see thousands of teachers, bus drivers, university lecturers and UK Border Agency staff walk out.

UCU - the union for college and university workers - says there are rallies in Cardiff, Swansea, Wrexham, Aberystwyth and Bangor, as around three million public sector workers across the UK are expected to down tools in the biggest industrial action for a generation.

In Cardiff, almost all schools will be closed, most libraries will shut, and waste collection will be disrupted - with only black bin bags and bio bags being prioritised for collection.

Cardiff Bus say no services are expected to run as drivers take part in the strikes.

It means that insufficient employees will be attending work to allow them to safely run a bus service.

Managing Director of Cardiff Bus, David Brown, says: "It is with regret that we confirm that bus services on Wednesday will be withdrawn as a result of strike action.  

"We had hoped to have sufficient staff numbers to be able to run a limited service but, unfortunately, this is not possible.  We will, however, be operating a full service again from Thursday 1 December".  

"Customer safety is paramount and we will only provide services as far as it is safe for us to do so.  

"Although it is now fairly certain that strike action is going ahead, we would ask our customers to keep an eye on our website and social media feeds for latest updates in case anything changes".

In Newport, bus services will run as normal, but almost all schools will close - with 5 partially open and only 2 fully open. The Transporter Bridge will also be shut, as will most libraries and the register office. Bins will not be collected, but extra services will be put on on Saturday, when the council will aim to collect all of Wednesday's rubbish.

Caerphilly Council say the majority of schools will be closed, and so will all council offices. Essential services for adults and children within social services will be kept open with minimum staff.

In Rhondda Cynon Taf, usual services including refuse and recycling collection, community meals, day centres, libraries, leisure centres and children's centres will not be operating, and all schools in the area will be closed.

Hospitals will be affected, in part, by the action too. Tracy Myhill from the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board (UHB) said the Board "will be making some changes to its services, to ensure the safe delivery of "life and limb" services and to ensure that those patients who need urgent treatment are seen appropriately.

"To ensure the UHB can continue to provide care to those most urgently in need of treatment, it will provide a Bank Holiday-style service, with all routine, non-urgent services suspended on November 30.

She added: "The Health Board will be doing all it can to provide appropriate services, but ask that patients help us do this by avoiding attending the Emergency Unit unless necessary and making use of appropriate community based services such as their local GP, pharmacist or by contacting NHS Direct."

Although UK Border Agency staff are expected to join the strike, both Cardiff and Bristol airports say they're not anticipating major disruption at passport control.

A Welsh Government spokesperson has said: "Unions are NOT in dispute with the Welsh Government - it is a pay dispute with the UK Government over UK-wide pension arrangements.

"With a two year pay freeze, rising fuel costs, inflation at 5%, and the threat of redundancy, it’s clear that public sector workers are facing a particularly tough time at the moment.

"The focus of the Welsh Government is to minimise the impact of any industrial action on our public services."