Adult College closed due to strike

NEARLY 500 students faced disruption today after council chiefs closed Lancaster Adult College due to strike action.

The decision by Lancashire County Council came ahead of a planned national strike by members of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), University and Colleges Union (UCU) and Unite union health workers.

It could affect up to 480 learners at the college at White Cross.

Up to 60,000 public sector workers across the North West were expected to take part in the strike after rejecting a final offer which would lead to them working longer and paying more for a pension worth less.

The PCS predicted that the strike would cause disruption to lectures, driving tests, court hearings, hospital operations and border controls.

Yesterday, as the Lancaster Guardian went to press, it was confirmed that Lancaster Crown Court would not be sitting and that only five of Preston Crown Court’s nine courts would be sitting, meaning dozens of hearings must be re-arranged.

Lancaster Magistrates Court was expecting business as usual.

The Driving Standards Agency said it was unable to give people with driving tests booked at the test centre on Penrod Way, Heysham, advance warning of whether their tests would be affected.

But a spokesman urged everyone with tests booked to turn up to ensure they can be compensated in the event of a cancellation.

There was not expected to be any impact at Lancaster & Morecambe College or at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary, where there are a few Unite members.

A spokeswoman said hospital bosses had been told there would be no co-ordinated action and that there was no indication that Unite members would be absent from work.

PCS regional secretary, Peter Middleman, said: “Members have overwhelmingly voted to reject the final offer because they realise these changes are unnecessary.

“All the independent evidence shows that our schemes are sustainable and affordable. In light of that, we will not sacrifice a right to dignity in retirement to bail out a chancellor who, every day, adds to the economic misery of North West communities.”