Reports indicate strike by public sector workers against Coalition plans to reform their pensions has been well supported


Reports from across the UK suggest the strike by public sector workers against Coalition plans to reform their pensions has been well supported, with some areas saying the mood is as strong as during the November 30th 2011 mass strike.

(Pictured: Unite NHS workers picket UCH hospital in central London)

Hundreds of prison officers have defied anti-union legislation which prevents them going on strike, by walking out of prisons across the country to take part in pensions protest meetings.

Local reps say the Coalition’s plans – announced in Wednesday’s Queen’s Speech – to legislate to impose an increase in pension contribution and raise the retirement age for public sector workers has enraged many of their members.

PCS says an overwhelming majority of its 250,000 public sector members have joined the strike.

It says all business has been suspended at the Welsh Assembly and Labour and Plaid Cymru AMs have promised not to cross the picket lines.

All national museums in Wales are closed.

Speaking outside the British Museum in London where PCS and Unite members are striking, Unite regional officer, Carolyn Simpson told UnionNews: “The government’s aim is to try to split the unions into smaller groups.

“So today, it’s about the civil service and NHS pensions – and we’re holding the line.

“Unless the government participates meaningfully in negotiations about pensions, we’re going nowhere.

“[Cabinet Secretary] Frances Maude may say the strike will make no difference – he would say that. He wants us to stop. Well, that’s no going to happen.

“He probably doesn’t need a public service pension. Our people do, so we’ll be fighting on.”

At Manchester Crown Court 95% of staff are on strike.

At the Metropolitan Police contact centre in east London, PCS says just 10 of 60 civilian workers have crossed the picket line. Police officer colleagues have been bringing pickets tea.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “The early signs are that our strike is being very well supported across the UK.

“Our members do not take strike action lightly but, faced with severe attacks on their pensions, pay, jobs and communities they have no choice but to defend what they and their families have worked to create for generations.

“Ministers are making unpopular, unnecessary and unfair cuts to the livelihoods of public servants to pay off a deficit caused by greed and recklessness in the financial sector, and for more than 12 months have refused to negotiate on the key issues of paying more and working longer for a worse pension.

‘We remain committed to opposing the government’s programme of despair and campaigning for the alternative of investment in our communities and public services to help our economy to grow.”

Strike rallies are taking place in many cities around the country this lunchtime. UnionNews will be updating from Bristol, Glasgow and London during the day.

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