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Creers staff go on strike; Row over pay and conditions.

Byline: IAN FANNON

A 48-HOUR strike began today by careers advisers in an increasingly bitter dispute over pay and conditions.

The strike by staff from Greater Merseyside Connexions is the third by public service union,Unison,in the past five weeks.

More than 500 workers, who give careers and education advice to teenagers, will return to work on Friday.

The stoppage will hit schools and colleges across the region, while picket lines were being set up outside Connexions centres and offices.

A rally was being held at noon today at the back of the Connexions head office in Wood Street,Liverpool.

The dispute centres around contracts Unison claims have been imposed on staff.

GMC was formed in 2001, bringing four careers organisations under one body, with staff on different contracts and pay.

Unison had been negotiating with the company to achieve a single set of terms and conditions, but talks broke down.

Two previous strikes took place on April 1 and April 10.

Unison branch secretary Roger Bannister said: ``It is unfortunate this strike has to go ahead.

``Unison offered to suspend it if progress was made in talks with the company,but we have not received a positive response.''

GMC chief executive Kieran Gordon said the company had bent over backwards to reach a compromise.

He said: ``I am very disappointed it has come to this. The Unison branch has not been at all constructive throughout.''

CAPTION(S):

ON STRIKE: Staff from Greater Merseyside Connexions on strike last month
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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:May 7, 2003
Words:250
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