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Public sector workers go on strike across Britain

Public sector workers in Britain have gone on strike today in a row over pay, pensions, conditions, jobs and spending cuts.

Public sector workers and members of Unison gather outside the Houses of Parliament in central London. Credit: Nick Ansell/PA Wire
Public sector workers and members of the GMB union make their way through Brighton. Credit: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire
Public sector workers outside Charles Thorpe Comprehensive school in Ryton, Gateshead. Credit: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire

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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.

UNISON calls for 'wealthier to contribute more via tax'

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?"

Govt: Pay rises will lead to 'larger debts for our children'

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.

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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
  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."

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