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Two Million British Public Sector Workers Strike

By Stephen Jones
Epoch Times Staff
Created: November 30, 2011 Last Updated: November 30, 2011
Related articles: World » Europe
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A member of the general trade union GMB stands outside The Houses of Parliament in London on Nov. 30 ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images

A member of the general trade union GMB stands outside The Houses of Parliament in London on Nov. 30 ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images

Two million public sectors workers staged what many claim to be the UK’s largest strike in a generation in protest against pension cuts.

Teachers, hospital workers, border staff and even weathermen joined the industrial action, bringing widespread service disruptions across the country.

Many state schools were closed across the country, non-emergency hospital operations were cancelled, waste collection services disrupted, and huge delays were seen at airports and ferry terminals.

However, the government has said that it wouldn’t budge in its policy of reducing employer contributions to public-sector pensions and increasing personal contributions.

The 30 unions taking part in the one-day strike are also incensed by plans announced on Tuesday to increase the retirement age to 67 from 2026 as well as a new freeze on public sector pay increases.
Brendan Barber, the general secretary of the Trades Union Congress, said that the “toxic triple” unfairly penalized public sector workers.

“This is a government that scrapped the tax on bankers’ bonuses,” he told a rally in Birmingham.

“Instead they are asking millions of public sector servants to pay higher contributions that won’t go into their pensions, but will go into paying off the deficit.

George Osborne, the country’s finance minister, told the BBC that the strikes would do more harm than good.

“The strike is not going to achieve anything, it’s not going to change anything,” the Chancellor of the Exchequer told BBC TV.

“It is only going to make our economy weaker and potentially cost jobs.”

In Prime Ministers’ questions, David Cameron said that he felt the government’s offer was “very reasonable”.

“I don’t want to see any strikes, I don’t want to see schools closed, I don’t want to see problems at our borders, but this government has to make responsible decisions,” he said.




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