One day strike in Fife
FIFE came to a stand-still yesterday as more than half of Fife Council's employees went on strike.
Thousands of local government workers, including school janitors, social workers and healthcare workers, took part in the industrial action over pay, with hundreds picketing across the Kingdom.
No fewer than 87 primary schools, 17 secondary schools and 24 local services centres were closed across Fife, meaning thousands of school children had the day off just one day into the new term.
Head of human resources for Fife Council, Sandy Gallanders, said: "I would like to thank the council officers who worked very hard to maintain services, wherever possible, for our customers during the industrial action.
"We apologise to customers are affected by the disruption and will do our best to make sure any outstanding issues are resolved as soon as possible."
Mr Gallanders said he hoped negotiations will resume between COSLA and the three trade unions taking part - Unison, Unite and BMD - but added an increased pay offer would be unlikely.
He said: "We are keen to avoid any repeat of this strike action and further inconvenience to the public. Equally, we cannot afford to raise wages by more than the 2.5 per cent per year already offered by COSLA."
Workers moved to industrial action after rejecting a 2.5 per cent pay offer from COSLA, instead asking for five per cent which would be more in line with current inflation.
The move was supported by MSP for Mid-Scotland and Fife John Park, who sent a message of support to the workers by visiting the picket line at Fife House.
He said: "The below inflation pay offers being made by local authorities simply highlight the need for the Scottish Government to provide adequate funding to councils so hard working public sector staff can get a decent wage."
Picket lines were positioned around Fife, with one outside the Kirkcaldy social work office and Denburn yard.
John Gillespie, from Unite the Union, said: "Employers have offered a 2.5 per cent increase but with inflation now nearer 4.6 per cent this is a pay cut in real terms.
"The people who are the life blood of our community and the back bone of this country are being made to suffer while bosses are awarded huge salaries – the people who are losing out across Scotland are the ones doing vital public services."
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Weather for Kirkcaldy
Wednesday 19 June 2013
Temperature: 8 C to 21 C
Wind Speed: 20 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 11 C to 17 C
Wind Speed: 15 mph
Wind direction: South east