Civil Servants Strike Over Pensions Row
Unions have warned of more strikes as tens of thousands of public sector employees, including police, prison officers and lecturers, took to the streets.
More than 20,000 off-duty police officers - who are prohibited by law from striking - marched through central London saying job cuts were putting public safety at risk.
The officers donned caps that read: "Cuts are criminal," as they protested against the cuts and changes to their pensions and pay.
They said they were marching to highlight "the unprecedented attack on policing by this Government and the consequences that these cuts will have for public safety".
Policing Minister Nick Herbert wrote an open letter to all police saying he is "impressed by the work you do for your communities".
But he insisted difficult decisions on pay and pensions are needed and added that police pensions will still be among the best available.
Prisons, jobcentres, colleges, military sites and Government offices were also affected by the walkout, which is the third national day of action in the past six months over planned changes to pensions, which would see increased worker contributions.
The general secretary of the Unite union, Len McCluskey, described the day as "a fantastic success".
"There will be more strikes in June, at the end of the summer, the winter, next spring and on and on and on," he said.
"We need to make it clear that the coalition of resistance we have with groupssuch as students and senior citizens is generating momentum."
Union leaders told Sky News that up to 80% of UK prisons were hit by the prison officer protest.
By law, prison officers are also not allowed to strike, so they held protest meetings at jails across England, Wales and Scotland as a show of solidarity.
The move meant prisoners were staying behind bars for extended periods without attention and affected the judicial process, with those accused of committing crimes not being transported to court.
Prison worker Andy Spalding told Sky News: "We're unhappy because we're being asked to do more work for longer - and get less at the end of the day.
"I can't dispute that we do get a good pension, but we work for it. We're doing a very difficult job in very difficult conditions."
The Ministry of Justice said in a statement it is disappointed by what it described as "unlawful action".
The Government claimed only 100,000 civil servants had taken part in the "futile" strike, but unions said over 400,000 workers had been involved.
Mark Serwotka, leader of the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union, said Government claims some people would be better off after the reforms were a lie, adding it would press for another national strike in June.
Rail union leader Bob Crow's call for a national strike in October was well received by the crowd, while London bus workers are due to vote on strikes in a row over payments during the Olympic Games.
A spokesman for Prime Minister David Cameron said: "We have come up with a fair plan, which is fair to the tax payer as well as the public sector worker."
Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude described the strike as "futile" and insisted talks over pensions will not be reopened.
Despite the action, the Government made it clear in the Queen's Speech that the changes would go ahead.
what do you think?
Again the selfish public sector workers upset that the government is stopping them from stealing from the tax payer. It is about time that these bunch of thieves were sacked from all of their jobs. They are not indispensible and there are always others out there who can do the job and need it. Don't forget the migrant workforce which is available to us.
Richard, you should be pleased that the Public Sector employees are on strike. Look at all the wages that are not being paid today. Its not funny that some of the lowest paid people have to do the dirtiest jobs, the ones that would bring hospitals and the wider community crashing down if no one was prepared to do them for a pittance. Would you be prepared to clean up sick, excrement and blood as part of your daily responsibilities while been polite and cheerful to patients and visitors for £14,153 before tax and a 5% pension contribution? I know that I don't begrudge these unsung heroes a single penny and I for one would have to be paid a lot more before I was prepared to do the job.
I pay tax.have paid into my pension for over 30 years.its not a gift.
Peter I pay 11% of my pay per month towards my pension and I pay tax just like you. I also work shifts and, I suspect deal with matters you would not touch with a barge pole. thanks.
I have absolutely no sympathy whatsoever. Public sector workers have been spoilt in the past with their pensions being heavily subsidised by the tax payer. Now they have to join the rest of us in the real world. I am having to contribute more to my private scheme and probably going to have to work until I'm 70, I don't see why I should have to subsidise theirs. They can't use the argument that they are payed less than the private sector either because this is no longer the case (if it ever was).
Will we miss them ? of course not !!!
So when the rubbish is piling up in the street, your kids can't go to school, you become seriously I'll but can't go to hospital, and your house gets broken into but there is no one to do anything about it you won't miss them?
No, we would employ someone who appreciates the fact they have a good job. We are all struggling but if you compare all of the public sector departments within local councils that I have dealings with to similar setups in the private sector, they are, without exception, overstaffed, over equipped, under worked, more secure and certainly not paid any less. I see both sides, they have nothing whatsoever to complain about. To get the same return from my pension as a council worker I would probably have to contribute most of my salary, get real!
So what exactly is the gold plated pension of the parasite who looks after you when you are Ill worth? Do you even know?
military sites - hhhhhmmmmmmmmmm not the military themselves. we have more pride in the country we serve, and yes our pensions are being changed too. get over it, the coun try is finacial doodoo and all you can do is think of yourselves. must be a union thing
400,00 public sector workers including 20.000 plice (who cannot strike by law) are potesting and Cabinet Minister Francis Maude and the government think they are right. Seems to me they are not listening to the public, but being bloody minded and ridiculously obstinate. Time for the lunatics in the House of Commons to return to the Asylum. Lets have sensible people running this country, there's plenty out there with the non qualifications that are required to be an MP
I can't believe that there are still people who describe teachers, nurses, police officers etc as selfish. What selfish for wanting to be able to earn a decent wage and live a decent life for doing the jobs that some people wouldn't touch with a barge pole? Oh but I forgot we should know our place, pay our taxes and not spoil it for the selfish rich folks. The real problem is in the private sector. How many private sector workers can afford a private pension? Who is going to pay for their retirement in the future?
Welcome to the real world. My pension was scrapped years ago, and I now pay the same amount into a private pension, but with the projected return I may as well put the cash under my matress. If I had gone on strike I would have been shown the door.
and the beat goes on
The day was when public sector workers were poorly paid - the compensation being that they had secure jobs and a guaranteed good pension. The Unions have done a good job for their members and now they often have pay which exceeds the private sector equivalent - so I guess something has to give.
My wife has just retired from her job as a Deputy Head. She paid pension contributions all her working life and income tax. She receives £800 a month pension on which she pays tax, less than most people receive in benefits, hardly gold plated I would suggest.
I wonder how many of you people today, going on strike and disputing what is happening, or going to happen to your pensions and job prospects, "Slated" the Fire Service when they went on strike, for the very same reason as you are today,or will be in the future !! Those of you that did back our cause in 2000/2001 a big "thank you". For those that slated the Fire Service "every dog has its day " if you want something, "you have to stand up for it " !!
The simple sheep in the private sector instead of growing a pair, joining a union and fighting for better pay and conditions, instead try to drag everyone else down to the gutter. Funny isn't it how they believe the propaganda spewed out by the media and the politicians and their rich chums that we "are all in this together". Notice any belt tightening at the top you numpties? Our dear masters the gobsmiths set Fred Bloggs and Joe Public against each other and it works every time.
The usual range of selfish and self centered comments from the great British public. I'm a retired lecturer, having taught for 21 years and my monthly pension is £495, not exactly "goldplated". People should focus on the obscene payouts in the banking and corporate sector instead of most of us in the public sector who provide a public service!
Public sector workers chose to work in the public sector just as private sector workers chose the private sector They have had their pensions changed once a few years ago but were promised it wouldn't be changed again The Government are twisting the facts to get public approval (look above it's Francis "Jerry Can " Maude criticising them) They are striking as they are totally entitled to do based on legislation introduced by previous Tory Governments. Pensions are part of their remuneration. To call it stealing is totally pathetic. All Public Sector pay comes from taxation. Do you think Nurses , Fireman, Teachers pay is theft ?? Idiot So why all the extreme critics.
I notice comments about selfishness here, but surely the most selfish are those who are making the changes, the MPs, because they never make ANY change to their own ludicrously generous, taxpayer-funded, final-salary pensions. Why not, because surely they ought to be regarded as 'public sector ... they're paid by the taxpayer just like all the others? Could it be anything to do with greed and self-interest? Wouldn't it be nice to see them leading by example for a change, instead of just by dictat? It is also they, in collusion with the greedy bankers, who are largely responsible for the dire state of western economies, so why are neither groups being held to account for their greed and incompetence?
UP THE WORKERS!
A lesson here is never let the public sector get to any real size in future, they soon become the enemy within when they get the chance. ....let them strike & build up a back lash from the public, it all helps to ensure they are never in a position of power in the future.
There a lot of dedicated people in the public sector who do a first class job and there are also lot of overpaid wasters. The Police Force demonstrating!!!! unbelievable, the Police are a joke if you turned the clock back 30yrs the arogant clowns we have now wouldn't hold the job down. However I find this all a bit strange when we have single teenage mothers on 3k a month and free housing producing unwanted children, No Problem. Fake disabled living the life of riley, No Problem Top tax rate change, No Problem. Country full of illegal's all on benefit, No Problem Money for foreign aid, No Problem. Money for Europe, No Problem. And as a final insult we more concerned with strange marriage and the House of Lords.
If the pot isn't big enough then the government borrows the money to pay the wages and pensions bill. To employ a PS (or CS) worker probably costs the government several times that persons annual income to employ them. The last two governments hugely increased the PS workforce. Here in Wales it is by far the largest employer, all paid for by UK gov thru Cardiff. Obviously every country in the world is kept running by an essential core of 'government' workers, but just how many do you actually need? I was employed for 17 years in a gov department where, in the end, 10 people were trying to do the work that 1 person could really do! It was great to be on salary and pension, albeit small, the best employer you could ever hope for, totally benign, every rule in your favour.
The demagraphic time bomb strikes. People are living longer, and we all want the medicines and expensive treatments so Granny can live to 80+, less people are earning, but we still want the same level of care for less taxes (who wants increases to fund anything?) Britain is still supporting immigrants, who have not paid into the countries coffers, but get more benefits than those who have, and is still helping fight wars we cannot afford. Of course it's all going to fall apart... Now the government say you have to work longer, pay more and get less back. But for what? clothing and housing immigrant families? Helping to keep the U.S. peace? it certainainly isn't for looking after the old who paid their taxes and worked for the country all their lives.