Beds, Herts & Bucks

Strikes to hit schools and Luton Airport

Schools and council services across Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire and people using Luton Airport are set to be hit by the public sector workers' strike.

The strike over pensions, due to take place on Wednesday, will involve thousands of workers in the three counties.

Councils expect hundreds of schools to be closed or partially closed.

Parents are asked to consult the local council websites.

Anyone concerned about other council services such as libraries should also consult the council websites.

The unitary authority Luton Borough Council said: "Essential services to protect the most vulnerable members of the community will be maintained, but other services will be affected and more still are expected to operate on a skeleton staff."

The council said it was trying to minimise disruption.

Many hospitals in the region are also expected to be hit by industrial action.

About 50 workers are expected to take industrial action at Bedford Hospital.

But the NHS Trust which runs it, has said it is not expecting significant disruption and planned surgeries, outpatient appointments and all emergency services are due to run as normal.

Luton rally

About 30 PCS union staff checking passports at Luton Airport are joining the strike.

That is is expected to lead to major disruption for air travellers, says the union.

Luton-based airliner Easyjet has offered to provide extra staff at the airport.

They will be helping to provide passengers with information, and helping to prevent congestion in the baggage hall in case of immigration hall delays.

Catherine Lynn, an Easyjet director, said: "We're really pleased that hundreds of our own staff - including pilots, cabin crew and the airline's management - have volunteered to help out."

Wednesday will see a march and rally in Luton by the local trades union council.

The march is being supported by the unions Unite, GMB, Unison, NUT, UCU, PCS, AEP, ATL, NASUWT.

There are also planned protest marches and rallies in Aylesbury, Milton Keynes, Hertford and High Wycombe.

The prime minister's official spokesman said: "The strike action will achieve nothing - it would be far better to continue with the talks."

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