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David Cameron: 'Time has come' to tackle strike laws

David Cameron said the "time had come" to tighten strike laws and vowed to include this measure in the Conservative manifesto ahead of next year's General Election.

Prime Minister David Cameron during a visit to Halesowen College, West Midlands. Credit: David Jones/PA Wire

The Prime Minister attacked low turnouts in some ballots, pointing out that only 27% voted on whether to strike in a 2012 walkout.

During his weekly questions in the Commons, he said: "I don't think these strikes are right...I think people should turn up for work.

"I think the time has come for looking at setting thresholds in strike ballots... The (NUT) strike ballot took place in 2012, based on a 27% turnout.

"How can it possibly be right for our children's education to be disrupted by trade unions acting in that way? It is time to legislate and it will be in the Conservative manifesto."

  1. Anglia

Government says most will work through the strike action

The Government says it is expecting most schools to open and most public sector workers to stay at work during Thursday's industrial action.

A spokesperson for the Cabinet Office said: “The vast majority of dedicated public sector workers did not vote for today’s action, and early indications are that most are turning up for work as usual.

“We have rigorous contingency plans in place, services appear to be working well. and we expect most schools and job centres to open their doors."

“It is disappointing that, once again, some union leaders have pushed for strike action that will achieve nothing and benefit no one. Union leaders have relied on mandates for action that lack authority – the National Union of Teachers ballot was run nearly two years ago, while other ballots had extremely low turnouts.”

– Cabinet Office Spokesperson

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  1. Tyne Tees

Teacher: 'It's largely about the conditions for me'

Thousands of public sector workers from across the North East are taking part in a 24-hour strike today.

Like the last strike of this scale, it means hundreds of our schools will be closed or partially closed. The industrial action also affects town halls, libraries, Sure Start centres and many other council-run facilities.

The action is part of an ongoing dispute over pay, pensions and working conditions.

Nik Jones, from Wolsingham School and Community College in County Durham, is one of thousands of members of the National Union of Teachers taking part in the walkout. "It's largely about the conditions for me", he said.

GMB: We are 'hoping to get the employers to negotiate'

Striking workers want their employers to enter back into negotiations over their "measly" pay rises with unions, a GMB representative told Good Morning Britain.

Regional Representative Joe Morgan was also critical of proposed changes to the number of votes needed before a strike could be held, saying if the same rules were applied to Parliament, "you wouldn't have one MP elected across the country."

One million public sector workers expected to strike

The Government is set to be hit by the biggest strike over pay since it came to power when over a million public sector workers walk out in a bitter dispute.

Lollipop men and women are among those public sector workers striking today. Credit: Tim Ireland/PA Wire

Teachers, firefighters, civil servants and transport workers are among the workers downing tools and joining the picket lines over pay, pensions, jobs and spending cuts.

Trade union Unison will stage an early morning demonstration outside Parliament, one of hundreds of events across the country to mark the 24-hour walkout.

Gove urges teachers to reconsider strike action

Michael Gove is urging teachers to reconsider taking part in a national strike on Thursday.

The Education Secretary is set to say those taking part in the walkout are putting their own pay and pensions ahead of children's education.

Education Secretary Michael Gove is urging teachers not to strike on Thursday. Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

In a speech to the Education Reform Summit in central London, Mr Gove is expected to stress that the Government's educational reforms are necessary, and that "our status quo" has not been good enough.

"We can't and we mustn't keep going backwards - and failing the poorest above all," he is due to say.

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Union workers in show of strength strike action

A million public sector workers have been called out on strike tomorrow - in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Teachers, council workers, firefighters and NHS staff are among those who are angry about pay and pensions.

ITV News Political Correspondent Carl Dinnen has more.

Poll: Majority of public sector workers support strikers

Protestors during a march outside the Conservative Conference 2013 at Manchester Central. Credit: PA Wire

An ITV News/ComRes poll has found that the majority (59%) of public sector workers believe they are right to take industrial action, with less than a quarter (23%) disagreeing with them.

However, there is less support among private sector workers: 42% think that their public sector counterparts are wrong to go on strike compared to 37% who think that they are right to.

ComRes interviewed 2,053 adults online between 4th and 6th July 2014.

Poll: Britons split on public sector strike action

Members of the National Union of Teachers and the NASUWT, march through Bristol in strikes last year. Credit: Tim Ireland/PA Archive

The British public is divided about this week's public sector strike action, a poll conducted for ITV News by ComRes has found.

In the poll of 2,053 adults, results were split with as many people saying workers are right to go on strike (40%) as they are wrong to do so (41%).

Much of the opposition to the strikes comes from older Britons aged 65 and older, with 65% of those polled in that age range saying workers were wrong to take industrial action.

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