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Public sector strikes take place

Up to 400,000 public sector employees are staging a day of protest today against the Government’s pension reforms. Police officers will also be demonstrating against projected job losses over the next four years.

Unions taking part include the Public and Commercial Services (PCS), Unite and University and Colleges Union. Prison officers are holding protest meetings against plans to tie their pension age to the state pension age.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Thursday, Julie Nesbit of the Police Federation, said: “We don’t have industrial rights and we cannot do anything about the poor treatment we are receiving. The police service is the ultimate public service. We are the people without whom the rest of the public services cannot function.”

PCS general secretary, Mark Serwotka warned that the strikes showed the dispute was not over. He said: “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.”

Cabinet minister Francis Maude said: “It is very disappointing that a handful of unions insist on carrying on with futile strike action which will benefit no one. We would urge these union leaders to reconsider their position. Pension talks will not be reopened and nothing further will be achieved through strike action.”

Image c. N Hall

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