Unions: 'Workers Can't Feed Their Families'
Unions say they are angry at 'abysmal pay', working conditions and pensions. Here is a snapshot of each union's main complaints.
Members: 1.4 million from various sectors, ranging from industry and manufacturing to education and agriculture - 70,000 of them are in local government and are directly affected by Thursday's strike.
Unite national officer for local government Fiona Farmer said: "Our members have endured four years of pay cuts in real terms and they voted overwhelmingly to strike on July 10 to drive home the message to ministers that poverty pay in local government must end.
"The depth of feeling on the pay issue is reinforced by the fact that local government unions, GMB and Unison, and members of the National Union of Teachers are all taking action on tomorrow.
"Poverty pay is widespread across local councils. Household bills continue to soar, but our members' buying power is constantly being eroded. The national minimum wage will soon overtake local government pay scales; members are choosing between heating and eating."
Members: 300,000 qualified teachers
Christine Blower, General Secretary National Union of Teachers, said: "Despite months in talks with Government officials, the real issues of our dispute have not been addressed. Teacher morale is at a low ebb.
"Changes to pay, pensions and a workload of 60 hours are unacceptable and unsustainable. Thousands of good, experienced teachers are leaving or considering leaving their job and a teacher shortage crisis is looming.
"The fact that teachers are prepared to take strike action is an indication of the strength of feeling and anger about the Government's imposed changes. Strike action is a last resort but, due to the intransigence of the coalition Government, it is one which we cannot avoid."
Members: 1.3 million workers from a range of roles within all public service areas, including people employed by public service authorities, private companies and community organisations.
Dave Prentis, Unison General Secretary, said: "Unison's local government and school members in England, Wales and Northern Ireland hold their first one day strike over an abysmal 1% pay offer. Faced with soaring food, fuel and housing costs, they have had to put up with three years of frozen pay, and now yet another below inflation offer.
"They have seen the value of their pay fall by nearly 20% since the coalition came to power and many struggle to make ends meet, to feed their families and pay their bills. Our charity is seeing more and more people asking for help and we know that many have had to resort to food banks to put food on the table.
"This is a national disgrace that these workers, who keep vital services running for their communities should be paid so badly, that they can't pay all their bills. And the lowest paid are still waiting for £250 promised by the Chancellor for two years' running. They have now voted to take strike action; that is not something they do lightly. But they are saying enough is enough. Work should pay enough for people to be able to live on."
Members: 617,000 workers, including school meal servers, street cleaners, binmen and carers.
GMB National Secretary, Brian Strutton, said: "We have tried sensible discussions, we've sought to negotiate reasonably, we've said we are willing to accept ACAS arbitration rather than go on strike - but to everything we've tried the employers have said 'no'. So we have no choice.
"GMB members serving school meals, cleaning streets, emptying bins, looking after the elderly, helping children in classrooms and in all the other vital roles serving our communities are fed up with being ignored and undervalued.
"Their pay has gone up only 1% since 2010 and in October even the national minimum wage will overtake local authority pay scales. Their case is reasonable, the employers won't listen and don't care, no wonder they have turned to strike action as the only way of making their voices heard."
Members: 270,000 civil servants.
A PCS spokesman said: "We're striking because, as well as tens of thousands of job being cut from the civil service since 2010 and the ongoing threat of more of the civil service being privatised, wages have been frozen and capped to such an extent that by next year incomes for many civil servants will be 20% lower than they would have been if they'd kept pace with increases in the cost of living. That is a huge hit in salary to take.
"There are other endemic issues, such as unequal pay. For example, staff in the Passport Office - in the eye of the storm at the moment - can be paid £3,000 less than their colleagues doing similar work elsewhere in the Home Office.
"Across the civil service, women are paid 10% less than men, 14% less for part-time workers. We've tried to negotiate but the Government refuses. Faced with this, it's inevitable that people will want to take industrial action."
Members: 80,000, of whom 361 TfL (Transport for London) backroom staff will be on strike.
RMT's Acting general secretary Mick Cash said: "While the political class, the bankers and the idle rich have all got their snouts in the trough, of course we are right to stand up and fight for the millions of workers told to take a hit despite the fact that they had no part in creating the financial crisis.
"We would be foolish not to maximise the unity of the trade union movement in the face of an aggressive, anti-union government that is mired in its own cesspit of scandal. We will take no lectures in morality from them.
"The front line of defence against cuts and austerity is the organised working class and that is why the Tories and big business want to tighten the legal noose around our necks. They will have a fight on their hands."
Members: 44,000 firefighters
Matt Wrack, FBU general secretary, said: "The government must realise that firefighters cannot accept proposals that would have such devastating consequences for their futures, their families' futures - and the future of the fire and rescue service itself.
"We have tried every route available to us to make the government see sense over their attacks.
"Three years of negotiations have come to nothing because the government is simply unwilling to compromise or even listen to reason despite a huge amount of evidence showing their planned scheme is unworkable."