Britain's top earners should "contribute a little bit more" so public sector workers can have "decent pay", the head of a trade union told Good Morning Britain.
Dave Prentis dismissed Francis Maude's claims the Government could not afford a pay rise and said, "the top 1% have increased their wealth by 18% in the last year - can't just we ask that they contribute a little bit more, via the taxation system, to enable us to have decent pay?"
If public sector workers are given a bigger pay rise than the 1% promised by the Government, it will lead to "debts ever larger for our children and our grandchildren to have to pay off", a senior minister said.
Francis Maude told Good Morning Britain "pay restraint is essential" if the UK ever wants to get its deficit down.
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.
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."
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.”
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Hundreds of schools are to close tomorrow as teachers join strike action. Find out what schools in your area are affected.Read the full story ›