England

Cheshire council strike causes 'minimal' disruption

A strike by Cheshire West and Chester Council employees has caused "minimal" disruption to services, according to the authority.

Council workers are staging a three-hour stoppage, which started at 15:00 GMT, to coincide with a protest at the council's headquarters in Chester.

Up to 100 union members are outside the headquarters protesting against changes to terms and conditions to save £4m.

Unison's Ray McHale said the industrial action was "just the beginning".

An adult day centre, children's centre and 12 libraries closed early because of the industrial action, said the council.

A spokesman said: "The effect on services was minimal."

'Vary greatly'

Mr McHale, Unison's assistant branch secretary, said staff would stage selective strikes at weekends.

"The council has refused to have any meaningful discussions and are imposing new contracts which take £4m per year out of the pocket of council staff."

As well as Unison, members of Unite and GMB supported the strike over "the massacre" of their terms and conditions.

Cheshire West and Chester Council said the changes to terms and conditions were intended to "equalise" ones which "which vary greatly" between employees of the four old authorities and 8,500 employees - 96% of workers - had accepted them.

"It is putting £4m back into the public purse to preserve front-line services."

The authority was formed in April 2009 from a merger of Ellesmere Port and Neston, Vale Royal and Chester District councils, along with part of Cheshire County Council.

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