Strike action by public sector workers in Norfolk

Protesters rally outside City Hall in Norwich for a public sector strike
Image caption Protesters at City Hall joined thousands of workers in Norfolk out on strike

Thousands of protesters gathered outside City Hall in Norwich as part of the national public sector strike.

Workers from about 30 trades unions joined a march to City Hall from City College, said PCS union regional vice chair Julie Bremner.

She said the strike was not just about pensions, but also job cuts.

Education Secretary Michael Gove said unions "want to provide a platform for confrontation just when we all need to pull together".

Protest rallies also took place in Great Yarmouth, King's Lynn and Dereham.

Many services across the county were hit as thousands of workers walked out in protest at proposed government reforms for public sector pensions.

Picket lines were put in place outside many public service buildings.

Norfolk County Council said 245 of its 430 schools were closed on Wednesday.

Footballer teaches children

Non-emergency services were also disrupted at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, with some appointments being rearranged.

The trust which runs the hospital said it would provide updates on further affected services on its website.

An ex-Norwich City footballer, a doctor, journalist and a local MP spent the day teaching at Ormiston Victory Academy in Costessey, Norwich, which stayed open throughout the day.

Head teacher Rachel de Souza had previously pledged to bring in former soldiers to run classes, but it is believed the ex-servicemen pulled out at the last minute.

Sheringham Primary School head Dominic Cragoe said teachers who did not take action donated some of their wages to help colleagues who were on strike.

About 200 out of 250 staff in the benefit office and other government departments at Baltic House in Norwich did not turn up for work, the civil service union TCS said.

Police, ambulance and fire services said there would be some disruption to non-urgent calls throughout Wednesday, despite contingency plans being put in place.

Flights on time

At the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn, about 35 staff decided to strike - some 2% of the overall workforce.

The hospital said it had cancelled 100 physiotherapy outpatient appointments in advance of the strike action.

Some hospital maintenance staff who are Unite union members decided to work, but said they would give their day's wages to charity.

The James Paget Hospital in Gorleston said it was running a "public bank holiday level of service".

Disruption also hit council offices across Norfolk, with the county council only dealing with "emergency or time critical issues".

City Hall in Norwich was shut during the lunchtime rally outside, but was answering calls as normal on its main telephone line.

North Norfolk District Council said rubbish and recycling collections were affected as well as services at its Fakenham and Cromer offices.

Norwich Airport said despite potential for disruption, flights ran on time.

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