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Cheshire West and Chester Council workers in Easter strike

Workers at Cheshire West and Chester Council will strike over the Easter weekend in protest at changes to their pay and allowances.

Members of Unite, Unison and GMB are striking over what they say are "savage cuts".

Street cleaners, library staff, care workers and car park attendants will take part in the action.

Council staffing committee chair Alan McKie said he was "extremely disappointed" by the decision.

The dispute is over changes to contracts of staff who were previously employed by four local authorities covering the area, prior to the formation of Cheshire West and Chester Council in 2009.

'No choice'

Previously staff had been employed by Ellesmere Port and Neston, Vale Royal, Chester District and Cheshire County Council.

The unions say the changes to contracts had taken "£4m per year out of the pocket of council staff".

GMB Organiser Marie Saunderson said: "GMB members are taking strike action in direct opposition to the savage cuts implemented by Cheshire West and Chester Council on the 2nd April.

"GMB and the joint trade unions through ACAS put forward a proposal which we felt would have resolved the dispute, but the authority chose to reject it out of hand leaving our members with no choice but to continue with the action.

"The cuts have given rise to the loss of enhancement for weekend working, removal of some shift premiums and the removal of the majority of Bank Holiday premiums."

Mr McKie said: "The new contract - necessary to harmonise the varying terms and conditions of the four legacy authorities - has already been agreed by 100 percent of the Council's workforce.

"Some of the striking workers have already accepted a one-off special payment made to staff earning less than £17,000 per year."

The council said the effect of a previous strike on 14 February had been "minimal".

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