Thursday, June 30, 2011

UK: 'Hundreds of thousands' of public sector workers strike

The leader of one of the four unions involved in a national strike has said that the government will be "proved wrong" in its predictions that few will walkout in protest at an overhaul of public sector pensions.

Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the Public and Commercial Services union said "hundreds and hundreds of thousands" were expected to take part in Thursday's strikes because the government was "failing to compromise" over pension reforms that he claimed were unfair and politically motivated.

Picket lines were mounted outside schools, government buildings, jobcentres and courts today by striking public sector workers in the biggest wave of industrial unrest since the coalition was formed.

Union leaders said early indications were that the 24-hour walkout by the National Union of Teachers (NUT), Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL), University and College Union and the PCS, which between them cover 750,000 public sector workers, was being strongly supported.

A third of schools are expected to close and two-thirds of universities have cancelled lectures. Benefits will go unpaid, court cases will be postponed, police leave has been cancelled in London and airports are bracing themselves for backlogs at immigration. (read more)