THOUSANDS of Halton’s public sector workers went on strike on Thursday to protest over the government’s pay freeze, pensions and falling living standards.

Some 29 schools closed, 13 were partially shut and many services disrupted as teachers, librarians, care workers, refuse collectors, cleaners, office workers, librarians and firefighters mounted industrial action.

Dave Owen, Halton Council’s Unison branch chairman said: “The vast majority of our 2,000 members were out.

“They don’t go on strike easily but we want quality services for the community. We want to protect jobs and maintain high standards.

"We have an excellent local authority. The barrier is being put up by central government who will continue to make pay cuts until 2018.

"Our members are hard working and very dedicated. 

"Many of our members are low paid women. We want to get a realistic pay claim. One per cent is a pay cut.

"We have to fight this."

Halton Council chief executive David Parr said: “Despite a significant reduction in staff numbers, the council was able to maintain essential services to Halton’s residents.

“The council would like to apologise to any members of the public who experienced difficulties in obtaining council services as a result of what was a national dispute supported by a large number of Halton Council employees.”

The council has made arrangements for bins missed due to strike action.

They are unable to say specifically what day bins will be emptied.

Residents whose general waste, green collection or recycling collection was due on July 10 are advised to leave thier bin out by 7am every morning this week until it is emptied.

Bins not emptied by 4pm should be returned to the property and placed out again the following day.