Page last updated at 06:43 GMT, Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Strike to delay assembly's plenary meeting

The chamber.
The national assembly's scheduled plenary session will not take place

The plenary meeting of the national assembly has been called off as a strike by civil and public servants continues for a second day.

Up to 20,000 workers in Wales are expected to take part in the second day of a UK-wide industrial action over changes to redundancy terms.

It has caused the assembly to postpone Tuesday's scheduled meeting of all members until Wednesday morning.

The UK government insists the new rules are "fair" to both staff and taxpayers.

The 48-hour stoppage by the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union is affecting job centres, courts and the Welsh Assembly Government.

An assembly spokesperson said plenary would be held throughout the day on Wednesday.

"This will allow the planned business for the week, both government and opposition, to be completed."

Buildings closed

As was the case on Monday, the Senedd and Pierhead buildings will be closed while access to the assembly's Tŷ Hywel building will be limited to pass holders and essential visitors.

A spokesperson for the Welsh Assembly Government said it was working to manage any disruption to minimise the impact on the services it provided.

The PCS estimate that about 75% of its Welsh membership, around 15,000 people, went on strike on Monday.

The union's month-long action, starting with a two-day stoppage, is part of a dispute over changes to redundancy terms.

The UK government is trying to impose new rules, which would mean a maximum redundancy payment of two years' salary for those earning over £30,000 a year.

Overtime ban

Five trade unions have accepted the changes, but the PCS - which represents half of all civil servants - is fighting them.

Nearly two thirds of PCS members backed the strike, with more than 81% also supporting an overtime ban.

The PCS claim the changes will see staff losing up to a third of their redundancy entitlements and could see tens of thousands of jobs being lost.

But Cabinet Office Minister Tessa Jowell said the action was "disappointing" and that changes to the civil service compensation scheme were agreed to be "fair" with five of the six civil service unions after 18 months of negotiation and consultation.

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