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NO 'PUNISHMENT' FOR CITY STRIKERS; Staff won't lose attendance bonus.

Byline: MARC WADDINGTON

LIVERPOOL council leader Cllr Joe Anderson has shown his full support for striking council workers by overturning a decision to bar them from a bonus scheme for taking part in tomorrow's Day of Action.

An incentive scheme is in place where staff who do not have any days off in a year are rewarded with two extra days of holiday.

But council chiefs had decided to take the award off staff on the basis the strikes would be unauthorised absence.

Council leader Cllr Joe Anderson has intervened and said workers will not be "punished" for taking part in the nationwide industrial action over government plans to change public sector pensions.

He has also ordered councillors not to have any meetings with officers who are not going out on strike during the course of the day.

It is not known who decided to overturn the bonus policy, but responsibility for all human resources issues lies with Liverpool Direct.

Cllr Anderson has now instructed council chief executive Ged Fitzgerald that the holiday reward scheme should go ahead.

Initially, the council had told the ECHO that "the reward scheme is given for 100% attendance with no days off in a leave year, so in Join us twitter line with the council''s guidelines it will not be awarded to staff who take industrial action." @LivEchoNews Cllr Anderson said: "In my view it's a legitimate strike and as far as I'm concerned I don't see why they would wish to punish people for legitimately striking.

"There would be absolutely no justification for punishing members who have been put in a position where they have no choice but to take strike action."

Speaking of critics of the strikes, including the Conservative-Lib-Dem coalition, he added: "The Conservatives who condemn the strikes and the disruption they will cause to services should look at the reductions in services they are forcing and the disruption those will cause."

Twitter City Lib-Dem leader Cllr Paula Keaveney said she hoped that if the council was not going to take away the 100% attendance bonus for strikers, the same was applied to everyone.

It is not known how many staff stood to lose out if the scheme had been scrapped.

Cllr Keaveney added: "The criteria needs to be fair. If you are going to make an exception for one group of people then the council needs to make exceptions for people in other circumstances."

She added: "I support the right of people to ballot and take action. It's a shame we have come to this as I think negotiations could have continued, but the main thing is that every effort is made to cover the disruption."

Conservative Deputy Chairman, Michael Fallon said: "Ed Miliband must instruct his councillors to reverse this waste of taxpayers'' money. At a time when hardworking families are struggling to make ends meet, their money should not be spent on striking unions."

Strikes: City, Wirral, Knowsley, Sefton LIVERPOOL council said it expected "widespread disruption" as a result of tomorrow's strikes.

It said its LDL call centre would be running on a reduced service, but that all recycling and street cleaning will not be affected.

The majority of schools will be closed and some Sure Start centres and nurseries will shut for the day. A spokesman said: "Widespread disruption is expected and customers and residents planning to use services are urged to make alternative arrangements if necessary."

Wirral council said the strikes would have "significant impact" with the majority of its schools closing.

One Stop Shops, except for Wallasey town hall, will also close.

Call centres will be open but all libraries, leisure centres and art galleries will be shut.

Knowsley council said all its buildings would be closed with the exception of one school, Evelyn County, in Prescot.

Leader Cllr Ron Round said he supported the action, adding: "I support the statement that the Trade Unions are making against the coalition government on pensions and I understand why local government workers feel so strongly about the matter."

In Sefton, just three schools - Churchtown, Forefield and Lydiate primaries - will open on a partial basis and scheduled bin collections have been scrapped for the day.

Bootle Leisure Centre, Crosby Lakeside Activity Centre, Dunes Splash World, Litherland Sports Park, Meadows and Netherton Activity Centre will also be closed, re-opening on Thursday.

ST HELENS AND HALTON STRIKES ST HELENS council said residents will have to keep their household rubbish until the next collection day as a result of the strikes.

There will be no green or brown bin collections, but blue bag recycling will still be collected.

In total, 33 of the borough's schools will close, but residential care homes for the elderly will not be affected.

However, day centres will be closed and there will be no transport provided by the council.

Libraries and leisure centres will be closed but car parks will operate as normal.

In Halton, council buildings in Widnes and Runcorn will be closed as will all libraries, leisure centres and community centres. Parents are asked to liaise with schools about closures.

Household waste due for collection tomorrow will have to wait until next week.

Traffic on the Silver Jubilee Bridge is expected to be "heavier than usual" - the Kingsway and Queensway Mersey tunnel crossings being closed to the public while there are no ferry crossings.

Merseyrail trains and privately operated bus companies will run normally however station ticket offices will not be staffed.

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SUPPORT: City leader Cllr Joe Anderson said staff who went on strike would still get their 100% attendance bonus of extra holiday. Council bosses had initially decided any staff who took part would forfeit the award
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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Nov 29, 2011
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