UNISON members say they are so badly paid they cannot afford to strike.

Tendring District Council's Unison branch is holding lunchtime pickets to support the national strike action over low pay.

Union members are picketing outside Clacton Town Hall to show their anger at the Government's below-inflation offer of a 2.45 per cent pay rise.

William Smith, branch treasurer, said: "We are picketing in our own time during our lunch breaks to support the national campaign for increased wages for the low paid Unison members.

"One of the reasons we are not striking is because, with the level of pay, people cannot afford to take two days of no pay.

"The wage increases over the last five years have all been below inflation, 75 per cent of our members are near or just above the minimum wage."

Services are continuing as normal during the strike yesterday and today.

Elsewhere in Clacton, Shorefields Special School has had to close during the strike action.

It has a large number of support staff who are Unison members, and the school cannot operate without them.

Tendring Council has had a large number of enquiries about whether waste collection. As waste is handled by a contractor, it is not affected by the strike action and services are continuing as normal.