Strikers gathered at Grey's Monument in Newcastle, angry about pay and pensions. Thousands of other civil service workers across the North East are also on strike. The protest coincides with this year's Budget. Several protests are planned over the next few months.
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Production has started on Nissan Sunderland's new extra-large press. The £37 million project can create 2.5 million car panels a year.
The annual event, which has attracted upwards of 50,000 people, is back in Centre Square on July 15 and 16.
Sunderland are just three points behind sixteenth placed Middlesbrough despite a 4-0 home defeat to Southampton in their last league outing.