SAFC charity rewards children for courses

Some of the thousands of people who take part each year in courses run by the Foundation of Light attended an award ceremony at the stadium.

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Government dismisses unions' "inflated claims"

"We want to thank the vast majority of public servants who turned up for work as usual today. Our official estimates are that fewer than half a million took part in this strike action - well short of the inflated claims of union leaders. Within the Civil Service, there has been the lowest recorded turnout for a national strike.

"Every Jobcentre opened, the majority of children went to school as normal and fire services continue to operate with robust contingency arrangements in place.

"As part of our long-term economic plan, this Government has had to take tough decisions, including to restrain public sector pay. The blame for today's disruption rests with those union leaders who pushed for unnecessary strike action with weak mandates."

– Francis Maude, Minister for the Cabinet Office

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Newcastle strike march begins

Over 40,000 public-sector workers in the North East are striking in one of the biggest walk-outs the country has seen in years.

A march in Newcastle is now underway.

Striking in a dispute over pay and conditions Credit: ITV
Newcastle march Credit: ITV
The march is underway in Newcastle Credit: ITV
The biggest strike the country has seen in years Credit: ITV
National

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

National

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

Read: 'One million' public sector workers set to strike

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."

Read: What schools are affected by strike action in your area?

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