Council workers to strike for two days

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Local authority workers are set to take two days of strike action next month in a bitter row over pay which will cripple council services, it was announced today.

Negotiators from Unison agreed that the union's 600,000 council members in England, Wales and Northern Ireland will walk out on 16 and 17 July. The union's strike committee will meet on Friday to ratify the decision.

Social workers, housing benefit staff, teaching assistants, dinner ladies, cooks, cleaners, architects, traffic wardens and refuse collectors will join the strike in the biggest show of industrial unrest for years.

Unison's head of local government, Heather Wakefield, said: "It is a tough decision to take strike action but our members have shown that they are willing to fight for a fair deal.

"Once the dates are finally agreed, we will be going all out to mobilise maximum support around those strike days.

"We are, of course, always willing to meet the employers. The solution to this is in their hands.

"They must know that we mean business and they must know that our members cannot afford to take another pay cut this year."