A STRIKE by Oxfordshire County Council staff will take place on Tuesday over plans to axe its children’s centres and early intervention hubs
A STRIKE by Oxfordshire County Council staff will take place on Tuesday over plans to axe its children’s centres and early intervention hubs.
Members of the Unite union will stage a 24-hour walk-out from midnight on Monday after voting overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action.
The council wants to replace its 44 children’s centres and seven early intervention hubs with eight children and family centres in order to save £8million.
It means the children’s centres at the d:two centre in Market Place, Henley, Chiltern Edge School in Sonning Common and Chalgrove and Watlington are under threat.
Unite, which represents staff in the early intervention hubs, has accused the council of turning its back on children, young people and their families.
The union’s members voted by 83 per cent in favour of strike action.
A picket line will be formed outside County Hall in Oxford from 8am on Tuesday.
Chris Gray, Unite regional officer, said: “The last thing our members want to do is take strike action. They are highly skilled professionals and deeply committed to the children, young people and the families they work with, day in and day out.
“But they have decided that they cannot sit back and watch while the council denies Oxfordshire’s young people a future and destroys its top class children’s early intervention service.
“The council risks turning its back on the county’s young people and badly letting down the families that rely on these services. We are urging people to show their support for this vital service, which gives Oxfordshire’s young people a start in life by joining us on the picket line.”
The councils insists it would still have a presence in all communities and focus on the most vulnerable children and families if the cuts go ahead.
It says the proposals are in response to large cuts to local council funding and “stark financial challenges”.
Children’s centres offer activities for under-fives and information and support for parents. Early intervention hubs, introduced in 2011, are designed to bring together services supporting children and families.