Unions warn of more strikes

Unions have warned that strikes by public sector workers in the row over pensions will continue following a day of walkouts and protests by tens of thousands of employees.

Latest ITV News reports

Advertisement

PM's spokesman: 'The industrial action is unnecessary'

The PM's spokesman said: "Clearly, we think the industrial action is unnecessary. We have set out our proposals for reforming public sector pensions.

"We think they are fair, we think they ensure that public sector pensions remain among the very best available and they mean we can sustain that system into the future.

Annie Delaney, 8, joins Unite and PCS union members outside University Hospital Birmingham, Edgbaston.
Annie Delaney, 8, joins Unite and PCS union members outside University Hospital Birmingham, Edgbaston. Credit: Press Association

"I think most people recognise that the Government has to deal with the financial situation it is faced with and that that means taking some difficult decisions to cut public spending."

Downing Street: 'Strike impact was limited'

Prime Minister David Cameron's official spokesman said Downing Street believed the impact of today's strikes to have been limited, thanks in part to "robust" contingency plans.

"My information is that the impact of the strike has been quite limited."

"The situation on the borders has been managed well and without delays and the vast majority of Job Centres have remained open, so the contingency plans have been working."

Contingency plans have involved drafting in additional people to man border posts, including some who have been trained up to work in the busy periods expected during the Olympics.

Cabinet office: 'More than 100,000 civil servants on strike'

Minister for the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude, said: “The dedicated majority of public sector workers are working normally today and rigorous contingency plans are ensuring that nearly all key public services remain open as usual.

“We can now confirm that:

  • Just 102,244 civil servants are on strike – down from 146,000 in November and dramatically lower than union claims;
  • Our borders have been managed without delays and staff in northern France have prevented 25 people attempting to evade our border controls;
  • This morning's industrial action by prison officers is now over, staff are returning to work and our contingency measures were effective."

PCS union: The Government refuses to negotiate

The General Secretary of the Public and Commercial Services union, Mark Serwotka, says his members are on strike because the changes the government is making to the pensions of public sector workers are unnecessary and unfair.

He said yesterday's Queen's Speech showed how out of touch the government is with the majority of public sector workers who "don't go on strike lightly."

Advertisement

Government: 'Unions' futile strike action will benefit no-one'

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 re-opened and nothing further will be achieved through strike action.

In March we set out our final proposed agreements on pension reform following more than a year of intensive discussions with trades unions. Our reforms ensure that public sector pensions will remain among the very best available and that they can be sustained for the future.

Public sector workers are being asked to work a bit longer and pay a bit more, but they will continue to get a guaranteed pension which is index-linked and inflation-proofed.

Most staff on low and middle incomes will receive a pension at retirement as good as what they expect today, and for many it will be even better.

– Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude

Maude: 'Fewer civil servants are on strike than in November'

The dedicated majority of public sector workers are working normally today and rigorous contingency plans are ensuring that nearly all key public services remain open as usual.

We can now confirm that far fewer civil servants are on strike than in November – with around 100,000 taking part – down from 146,000 last year. This is dramatically lower than union claims.

– Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude
Load more updates