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Last Updated: Tuesday, 28 March 2006, 08:47 GMT 09:47 UK
Schools closed by pension strike
public sector workers on strike in Lincolnshire
The 24-hour strike has affected schools and council services
Hundreds of schools have been closed across the East Midlands as a result of a national strike by public sector workers.

The dispute over pensions has affected support workers such as classroom assistants and caretakers.

Other council services such as refuse collections will also be hit.

Unions are opposed to government plans to reform the pension system and withdraw a rule which lets staff retire at 60.

Risk assessment

Unions taking part in the 24-hour strike include Unison, GMB and Amicus.

Classroom assistants, caretakers, meals staff, crossing patrol staff and bin collectors are among those who would be affected by the government proposals.

Union officials wrote to all schools across the East Midlands asking that a risk assessment be conducted to see if it was safe to open schools where the staff were on strike.

At least 206 schools are due to shut in Nottinghamshire, with 136 definitely closing in Derbyshire, 74 in Leicestershire and a minimum of 28 in Lincolnshire as a whole.

Services affected

Bin collections are also likely to be affected, although a spokesman for Leicester City Council said this would be unlikely in the city as the refuge collections there are done by a private company contracted to the local authority.

Other services that could suffer in the region include social services' day care facilities, but it is thought vital social care - such as residential care, meals at home and home care - will not be affected.

Some library services will be reduced and some museums will close for the day.

It is also possible that public swimming pools and even some multi-storey car parks may have to close.

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