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Public sector workers' day of strike action

Thousands of council workers, teachers and firefighters from across the region took part in a day of action over pay, pensions and working conditions.

Libraries, museums and nearly 500 schools in the region have been closed or disrupted. Unions claimed solid support for the strike but the government attacked them, arguing they are based on ballots with a low turnout. James Webster reports.

Strike action sparks war of words in Westminster

As thousands marched, the war of words between the unions and government continued. It claimed the vast majority of workers didn't vote for the action.

The Labour Leader and Doncaster North MP Ed Miliband said the strikes were wrong when negotiations were continuing.

Our Political Correspondent Paul Brand has been gauging reaction at Westminster.

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Dispute rumbles on over industrial action

Thousands of council workers, teachers and firefighters from across the region have joined a day of action over pay, pensions and working conditions.

Libraries, museums and more than seven hundred schools have been closed or disrupted.

Unions claimed solid support for the strike but the government attacked them, arguing they are based on ballots with a low turnout.

Michael Billington reports:

Thousands take part in biggest strikes since 2010

Thousands of teachers, refuse collectors, firefighters and other public sector workers in our region are on strike today.

Around two thousand took part in a rally and march in Leeds this morning. Almost 600 schools are closed and a further 450 partially closed as teachers took part in the marches or manned picket lines.

There were similar scenes in Bradford - today's walkout is the largest one-day strike over pay by public sector workers since 2010.

The TUC's regional secretary Bill Adams says the Government are not listening to staff concerns, but MP Patrick McLoughlin says the action is hurting the public:

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Minister says 'fewer than 500,000' took part in strike

A government minister has said fewer than 500,000 people are estimated to have taken part in today's public sector strike, a significantly lower number than union leaders have claimed.

Members of the GMB union make their way through Brighton as part of today's strike action. Credit: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude, who is responsible for the Civil Service, said: "Our official estimates are that fewer than half a million took part in this strike action – well short of the inflated claims of union leaders.

"Within the Civil Service, there has been the lowest recorded turnout for a national strike," he added.

Read: Union calls Government's strike figures 'laughable'

Unions defend ballot turnout

Unions have been criticised for going ahead with strike action despite a low turn out at the ballot.

Today, Neil Ware, from the GMB Union, defended the strike action despite figures from the National Office of Statistics saying staff in the public sector still earn between 2.2 per cent and 3.1 per cent more than the private sector in the year 2013.

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Union calls Government's strike figures 'laughable'

A union has described the Cabinet Office's figures on the amount of people striking today as "laughable".

Public sector workers march through Newcastle city centre today. Credit: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire

The Cabinet Office claims a fifth of civil servants - around 90,000 people - are on strike compared with a third in the last big walkout in 2011.

However, the Public and Commercial Services union dismissed the Cabinet Office's claims, saying: "No-one can trust this government to keep reliable figures, it can't even tell us what it's done with dozens of Home Office files."

Read: Poll suggests Britons split on public sector strike action

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