Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Strikes Hit Services as Millions Heed Unions' Call to Fight Pension Cuts

THE GUARDIAN: • Disruption across UK as many services come to virtual halt • Osborne: 'I'm not picking a fight with anyone' • Airports, schools, rail services and hospitals affected

The UK is expected to experience the worst disruption to services in decades as more than 2 million public sector workers stage a nationwide strike, closing schools and bringing councils and hospitals to a virtual standstill.

The strike by more than 30 unions over cuts to public sector pensions started at midnight, leading to the closure of most state schools; cancellation of refuse collections; the postponement of thousands of non-emergency hospital operations; and the prospect of delays at airports and ferry terminals.

The TUC said it was the biggest stoppage in more than 30 years and was comparable to the last mass strike by 1.5 million workers in 1979. Hundreds of marches and rallies are due to take place in cities and towns across the country.

The day of action takes place the day after the chancellor, George Osborne, fuelled anger by announcing a fresh wave of pay restraint for public sector workers to help fund economic growth plans and signalling plans to end national pay bargaining within two years.

Osborne denied he was picking a fight with public sector workers. » | Severin Carrell, Dan Milmo, Alan Travis and Nick Hopkins and Hélène Mulholland | Wednesday, November 30, 2011