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Govt claims less than 20% of civil servants are on strike

Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude said fewer than 20% of civil servants were on strike today compared with a third in the last big walkout in 2011.

Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude speaks in the House of Commons today. Credit: PA

Read: Poll suggests Britons split on public sector strike action

Mr Maude said today's disruption was the fault of union leaders and urged public sector workers that the right to strike must be exercised "responsibly".

He pointed out that only one in five members of Unite and Unison had taken part in ballots leading to the strike, adding that low turnouts strengthened the case for reform.

Watch: Gove claims teachers have 'no excuse' for going on strike

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Gove: Teachers have 'no excuse' for going on strike

Education Secretary Michael Gove told ITV News there is "no excuse" for teachers going on strike, which has "caused disruption for hardworking parents".

Mr Gove said: "There's no justification for this action and teachers, I hope, will draw the appropriate lesson from today which is that it is their responsibility to put children first and to be in the classroom teaching, not on the picket line striking."

Read: Poll suggests Britons split on public sector strike action

Cabinet Office: Strike numbers down on 2013

The Government say around a fifth of civil servants are on strike today as several unions take part in industrial action.

A Cabinet Office spokesperson said:

“Most public sector workers have reported for work today and well-rehearsed contingency plans are ensuring that nearly all key public services are being delivered as usual.

“In past years, unions made inflated claims about how many they thought would participate in strike action. They were shown to be wrong."

The statement said:

  • a fifth of civil servants - fewer than 90,000 – are on strike – that is down from the strike action in March 2013;
  • all 717 Jobcentres opened this morning;
  • the majority of schools in England and Wales are open;
  • fire services are operating across the country; and
  • nationally, disruption to local government services is minimal.

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Firefighters begin strike action

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Strike has started. We have around half our normal fire cover available today so pls help us help you and #takeextracare today!

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Firefighters strike 10am to 7pm today. Our 999 response will be severely depleted, so please #takeextracare to prevent fires

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Your view: Are teachers right to go on strike?

Public sector workers are striking today over a row on pay, conditions, pensions and spending cuts.

Here are some of the reactions from Twitter users on the industrial action.

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I'm with the strikers. No pay rise for years while ministers give themselves 11% + expenses? Unacceptable #strikeaction

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Hefty fines if kids aren't at school, yet teachers go on strike when they want? You're not the only ones struggling! #strikeaction #selfish

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As a parent I would be happy if my children couldn't go to school, they are teaching kids to stand up for what's important #strikeaction

Read: Poll suggests Britons split on public sector strike action

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