Larne borough is braced for strike action

LARNE residents could be facing a day of disruption on November 30 with many public services - including schools, buses and trains - expected to close down as part of one-day strike action.

More than two million workers across the UK are expected to walk out on Wednesday as the row over public sector pensions rumbles on. Unions fear that British Government reforms will see workers paying more, working longer and receiving less when they retire.

The largest union of teachers in Northern Ireland has voted to back the one-day strike action.

The North Eastern Education and Library Board has announced it will be issuing guidance to schools in relation to the proposed strike action.

An NEELB spokesman said: “It appears that virtually all the unions representing both teaching and non-teaching staff in schools will be taking part in the strike.

“The Board will be urging school principals to try to clarify who in their school will be absent on the day and as a result determine whether or not their school can remain open. They should then arrange to communicate this to parents as quickly as possible.”

At the time of going to press, it was still unclear how many of the borough’s schools would be impacted upon, and to what extend they would be affected.

Larne Grammar principal John Wilson told the Times that his school would face a degree of disruption but would remain open for some pupils.

“I suspect we will have some staff that will not be here on Wednesday, therefore we will probably not be able to bring all pupils into school on that day,” he added.

Roddensvale principal John Madden also confirmed that his school would remain open, despite the cafeteria staff being on strike.

He added: “Most of our teaching staff are in the Ulster Teachers’ Union (UTU), and they have balloted not to go on strike. Therefore we will have a full compliment of teachers and classroom assistants and the school will be largely unaffected.

“The only service that will be missing is school meals, and I intend to send out letters to parents advising them to send pack lunches that day if possible.”

Across the UK, other areas such as courts, government offices, job centres, driving tests, council services and hospitals are all expected to see some level of disruption.

When asked by the Larne Times how public transport in the borough would be affected by the strike, a Translink spokeswoman said: “We are currently considering the impact on services and how it may best be managed.”