Public sector workers protest

Public sector workers who are members of Unison, GMB and other unions went on strike yesterday in protest over pay and conditions.

Around 30 workers waving placards and banners battled windy conditions and received good support from motorists passing down London Road.

The protesters believe Hastings is directly affected by the national cuts.

A social worker called Catherine who did not want to give her full name but has worked at Ocean House for two years.

She said: “We haven’t had a proper pay rise, just one per cent in the last four years and the government wants that to continue for the next four years.

“It doesn’t help the economy as we have no money to spend.”

Another social worker who did not want to be named but has worked at Ocean House for seven years said: “For me its about the cutbacks that directly affect my clients in children services. If services for children and families are being cut that impacts directly on these families.

“We see the impact of the cuts on families in Hastings. They are struggling. Housing is badly affected.

“If the cuts had not been so severe there would be more social housing. We are spread too thin.”

HMRC’s presence in Hastings at Ocean House is in jeopardy. Tom Culbert from HMRC’s local tax compliance unit who has worked in Hastings for 10 years said: “We might be moved in December 2015 despite raking in £25 million from local businesses in extra tax revenue.

“This area will lose the local knowledge, training and experience that made it successful. They say the move would make the worforce more flexible but many people will leave because of the extra travel and impact on their children’s schooling.

“Our main concern is that if jobs go from this area they will never come back, which is another career option shut for local young people.”

Hastings Borough Council said: “The impact of the strike has been variable across the council, some parts have been more affected than others, but we have maintained all essential services.”