Public sector strike to cause serious disruption

Derry could come to a standstill tomorrow as public sector workers take part in one of the biggest strikes for a generation.

Picket lines will be in place across the North West with thousands of local workers taking action in a row over pensions, pay freezes and job cuts in the public sector.

It is expected that schools could be forced to close, health services and appointments will be cancelled, public transport curtailed and Council services reduced.

Teachers, bus and train drivers and health workers, along with many more public service workers, are planning to take part in the action, causing serious upheaval right across the region.

A public rally, which will be attended by protesting workers, will take place at Guildhall Square at 1 pm.

A spokesperson for the Western Health Trust said it was working to minimise disruption to services.

“It is anticipated, however, that there may be delays as a result of the action,” he said. “A protocol has been agreed with a number of trade unions involved in the action to protect in-patient, residential and clinically critical services.”

Schools and colleges across the region will also be hit by the strike. A spokesperson for the Western Education Board (WELB) said it fully recognised the “potential disruption to pupils and parents arising from the industrial action while appreciating the concerns of those taking to the picket lines”.

Guidance, says the WELB, will be issued to school principals advising them to clarify who will be absent due to the strike and to make an assessment of the extent to which normal operations would be affected.

Turning to transport, no buses or trains will operate across Northern Ireland on Wednesday.

Translink said it was awaiting information from education and library boards to discuss options for school transport.

Derry City Council, meanwhile, said the public should expect disruption to Council services on Wednesday while a spokesperson for City of Derry Airport said all flights were expected to operate as normal.