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Date Mon 18 December 2006

Falkirk strike closes council facilities

Strike action by UNISON and GMB members at Falkirk Council has shut down council offices, libraries, and sports centres. Almost 100% of trade union members in refuse collection, building maintenance ground maintenance and street cleansing took strike action. Education provision was disrupted by support workers and some classes were cancelled today, Monday.

The action was called to protest against the actions of Falkirk Council, in dismissing its entire staff and imposing new contracts with cuts in pay and conditions for many staff. The new contracts take effect today. UNISON estimates around 400 staff will have their pay cut - some of them could lose up to £10,000.

Gray Allan, Falkirk UNISON Branch Secretary said "This successful action of trade union members across Falkirk has shown how effective their work is. It is amazing how people value the jobs we do when we are not there. However it is clear that Falkirk Council do not appear to value these jobs or the people that provide them. Indeed they are prepared to go out on a limb and be the only council in Scotland to dismiss their staff and reinstate them on unilaterally imposed conditions.

"What makes this even worse is that the new proposals completely fail to deal with equal pay - the major rationale behind the whole Job Evaluation exercise.

The unions will meet later this week and discuss with members the next steps in the campaign. They stress that they are willing to meet the council at any time to negotiate.

Gray Allan said "We are the side that wants to negotiate. New pay and conditions should always be agreed between the council and the workforce. It is Falkirk Council's unilateral action that has precipitated this dispute, we call on them to reverse their imposition and sit down like other Scottish Councils to try and reach agreement.

ENDS

For Further Information Please Contact: Gray Allan - Falkirk Branch Secretary: 07710 528 533(m) Margaret Cook - Falkirk Branch Chair 07753 844545 (m) John Fair - Regional Officer 07903 846 329(m)

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