Published: 13:00, 07 July 2014
Local government workers at Gravesham council will be among the thousands set to strike on Thursday as part of a nationwide action over pay.
There will be picket lines at all the entrances to the Civic Centre in Windmill Street, starting at 7am until 10am.
Trade union UNISON claim many employees have been left struggling to get by with some relying on foodbanks, second jobs and in-work benefits to make ends meet.
UNISON branch secretary Jackie Denton said this year’s pay offer of 1% would result in a cumulative real-term cut of almost 20% for more than one million local government and school workers.
She said: “Local government workers have kept on going in the face of four years of draconian government cuts to keep local services running.
"In Gravesham community cohesion is particularly important to us – we have a very diverse community and despite Government cuts we continue to provide free leisure events throughout the year to bring our community together and want to continue doing this.
"We are also proud to be rolling out a new recycling scheme in the borough.
"But whilst we are one of the few authorities that has avoided service reductions, with the continued government cuts this could change and the way we run our services may also have to change.
"Taking strike action is never easy and our members are sending a clear message to the government that they have had enough.
"Employees deserve better treatment than they have had at the hands of this government.”
Fire crews will also be going on a number of strikes from Monday, July 14.
A Local Government Association spokesman said: “Local government staff have worked wonders while councils have been tackling the biggest funding cuts in living memory and we have no doubt that many will still be at work on the day of strike action
“The pay offer we have made would increase the pay of most employees by one per cent while the lowest paid would receive an increase of more than four per cent. This is the fairest possible deal for our employees given the limits of what we can afford.
“This strike will not change the pay offer we have made, but it will mean those who take part lose a day’s pay.”
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