All waste collection services across Hyndburn have had to be cancelled today, unions claim, as a public sector strike grips the borough.
Unison bosses said not enough council staff came into work today to carry out refuse collections due to a row with the government over their refusal to offer more than a one per cent pay rise.
The claims have not yet been officially confirmed, and the council had previously announced that refuse collections would not be affected, even though recycling collections would be disrupted.
Members of Unison, Unite, GMB, the Public and Commercial Services Union, NUT and the Fire Brigades Union were taking part in the day of action.
Picket lines were set up outside council offices on Willows Lane, Broadway and at Scaitcliffe House this morning.
Vanessa Tate, Union branch secretary, said: “The council were planning on doing refuse collections and not recycling but not enough people turned in to do it which is a big win for us.
“It was not only members who were striking but other people as well which they are entitled to do.
“In real terms we have all lost between 10 and 20 per cent of our wage since 2008 which is like taking £5,000 out of your pay packet.
“We are lucky in Hyndburn as the council adopts the living wage but we are fighting for other members in other councils who don't have that.”
Louise Evans, a council worker, said: “We need more pay. Everything is going up in price but we have only had a one per cent increase in five years which is nothing.
“Every year we are struggling. The government and MPs get their pay rises but they won't pay the ants that keep it all going.
A Hyndburn council spokesman yesterday said there would also be disruption to council services.
He added: “Some services will be reduced and, as a consequence, the council’s contact centre, including the main switchboard, will be closed.
“Accrington Town Hall reception will also be closed, although the council’s main office at Scaitcliffe House, Ormerod Street, should be open from 9am to 4.30pm on the day.
“The council would like to apologise for any inconvenience or disruption caused.”
St Nicholas CE Primary in Church, Fairfield Nursery School in Accrington and Great Harwood St Bartholomew’s CE Primary are all closed today for the strike.
Hyndburn Park primary school in Accrington will also be disrupted with partial closures affected reception, year one, two, five and six.
A Lancashire County Council spokesman said: “While it is difficult for us to tell what impact this will have on county council services and our schools, it is inevitable that there will be some disruption.
“We have well-established procedures to ensure that we will continue to provide services for vulnerable people across the county who need urgent support.
“Parents should check with schools to see how they will be affected.”
An estimated one million public sector workers across the country were due to take part today.
The action is hoped to prompt movement from the government after several years of negotiation over public service cuts.
Members of the National Union of Teachers are protesting at plans to make them work until 68, as well as increased workloads and performance-related pay.
John Lewis, Unison’s north west head of local government, said there was ‘no alternative’ to the strike.
“He said it would be the biggest wave of action in ‘living memory’, adding: “People are really struggling on poverty pay.”
A cabinet office spokesman hit back saying: “It is disappointing that the leadership of the unions are pushing for a strike that will achieve nothing and benefit no-one.”