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Tunnel closure causes disruption for many

One unexpected consequence of today's strike action was gridlock on roads across much of Cardiff as thousand of motorists were delayed.

The reason - the closure of the Butetown Tunnels linking the southern side of the city. Workers that monitor CCTV cameras in the tunnels joined thousands of other public sector workers in a mass walkout in a dispute over pay, pensions and spending cuts.

Cardiff Council says they carried out a risk assessment and the decision to close the tunnels due to safety precautions wasn't taken lightly.

James Crichton-Smith reports.

Employers: 'There's no more money'

Steve Thomas, Chief Executive of the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA) says there will be no improved offer from the UK government following today's mass walkout of public sector workers:

"If today is about registering protest against austerity, it's understandable. If it's about getting a raised offer, that's not going to happen."

When asked how they would deal with further disputes, Mr Thomas says today's strike action shows little enthusiasm from union members:

"The union must reflect on todays action - it's been very patchy - most of the civic centres around Wales are still open.

"We're seeing many people go into work, we've seen very low responses to the ballot and that tends to signal to me not much enthusiasm for strike action today".

"I would say to them (trade unions) to protect their members - don't lose another days pay. Take the offer."


Your views: What you think about today's strike action

Over a million public sector workers across the UK are taking industrial action in a series of disputes over pay, pensions and conditions according to union leaders.

In Wales, hundreds of schools are closed and many council services have been affected.

You've been having your say about what you think of today's strikes:

When did this become about 'teachers' striking? Aren't the fire men and nurses and refuse collectors etc also striking? Teaching profession seems to be a very easy unjust target for venting anger and frustration

– Debbie Moon

I don't want more !!! I want enough and at the moment I would be better off on benefits than trying to pay my way by working full time in the public sector.

– Lisa Davies

Try working in the private sector. No pay rise in years so will the teachers reimburse my childcare costs for strike days and permit me to take my daughter out of school during non term time? Especially as I am not allowed half term weeks off from work.

– Lisa Stevens

Families head to beach after strikes shut schools

Hundreds of people have headed to the beach after industrial action across the UK has seen thousands of schools close for the day.

Many children have been off school due to the public sector strike Credit: ITV News/Tom Sheldrick

Barry Island beach was full of families with their children this afternoon enjoying the warm weather.

The industrial action has seen travel disruption across many parts of Cardiff as thousands walk out in a dispute over pay, pensions and conditions.

Union says Welsh Secretary fails Tories' own test

One of the unions behind the public sector strike has dismissed Conservative calls for tougher rules on strike ballots as "utter hypocrisy". Many Tory MPs now want a requirement for strikes to be backed by more than half the workforce, not just the majority of those who actually vote in a ballot.

Unite said its research showed that no Tory MP was elected with the votes of over 50% of the electorate. The union claimed that the Welsh Secretary, David Jones, had the least backing of any cabinet member, with just 27% support in his Clwyd West constituency.

It is utter hypocrisy for the government to talk about mandates for trade unions when not a single member of the present cabinet would have been elected using the same criteria. This government has no mandate to attack trade unions or the workers who have been forced to take industrial action today in their fight to end poverty pay.

Britain’s anti-trade union laws are already amongst the most restrictive in Europe. Tory attempts to further curtail the rights of working people to democratically organise risks placing Cameron’s Britain alongside nations like Kazakhstan, Albania and Niger where the right for public servants to take action is forbidden.

– Unite general secretary Len McCluskey

Striking workers holding rallies across Wales

A rally has been held in Cardiff city centre this morning. Credit: ITV News/Mike Griffiths

Public sector workers taking part in today's industrial action are holding rallies across Wales.

Members of Unison, Unite, NUT, PCS, FBU, GMB and other unions are protesting about pay and conditions.

Around 100 people have taken part in a march in Wrexham Credit: ITV News/Rob Shelley

Rallies are also taking place in Swansea, Bangor, Wrexham, Merthyr Tydfil and Carmarthen.


Tory blames 'selfish unions' and council incompetence

Conservative Assembly leader Andrew RT Davies has blamed incompetence by Cardiff's Labour council leaders for today's traffic gridlock in parts of the city after the public sector strike closed a major route.

He called it the 'selfish motives of a small cabal of trade union leaders'.

The Butetown Tunnels were closed for safety reasons after the workers who monitor CCTV cameras walked out.

The resulting traffic jam blocked the dual carriageway linking Cardiff Bay with the M4 motorway. Other roads became clogged as drivers sought alternative routes.

We have known about these strikes for some time and yet the council were unable to make arrangements to prevent the capital’s roads descending into chaos once again. The knock-on effect of the closure of the Butetown Tunnels has been enormous. Commuters from all walks of life and all professions have been hit by the ensuing gridlock, along with businesses across the city. It is difficult to find an explanation other than incompetence as to why a contingency plan was not put in place.

People are perfectly entitled to withdraw their labour, but trade unions need to think long and hard about the impact that these strikes have on people’s everyday lives. Many families have also been forced to take annual leave because their children’s schools are on strike, and some households will miss their fortnightly rubbish collections. Once again, hardworking families face mayhem as the result of the selfish motives of a cabal of trade union leaders.

– Leader of the Opposition Andrew RT Davies AM

Industrial action causes traffic disruption in Cardiff

Cars are pictured queuing on the A4232 as industrial action takes place across Wales.

The strikes have forced the closure of the nearby Butetown Tunnels until 2am on Friday as workers who monitor CCTV walk out with other public sector workers.

Cars are seen queuing over the bridge on the A4232 Credit: ITV News/James Crichton-Smith
Traffic is seen queuing near Grangetown in Cardiff Credit: ITV News/James Crichton-Smith
The strike is thought to be one of the biggest in the last 10 years. Credit: ITV News/James Crichton-Smith
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