Unions warn strikes over pensions will be extended
UNION leaders have warned that strikes by public sector workers in the row over pensions will continue for the rest of the year following a day of walkouts and protests by tens of thousands of employees including police, prison officers, lecturers and civil servants.
The government was warned that campaigns of opposition to its controversial reforms will be extended, as more than 20,000 off-duty police officers marched through central London to warn that job cuts were putting public safety at risk.
Prisons, courts, job centres, government offices, colleges, museums and the servicing of Royal Fleet Auxiliary ships were all hit by the walkout -- the third national day of action in the past six months over pensions.
Union leaders said over 400,000 workers took some form of industrial action, but the Government questioned the number, claiming that only 100,000 civil servants had taken part in the "futile" strike.
At a rally in Westminster attended by thousands of strikers, the Government was accused of lying, while union leaders pledged to continue organising strikes.
Len McCluskey, general secretary of Unite, said: "Today has been a fantastic success and there will be more strikes in June, at the end of the summer, the winter, next spring and on and on and on.
"We need to make it clear that the coalition of resistance we have with groups such as students and senior citizens is generating momentum."
Mark Serwotka, leader of the Public and Commercial Services Union, said government claims that some people would be better off after the reforms were a lie, adding that the coalition was "swimming against the tide" of public opin- ion over its austerity measures.
The union said it would press for another national strike in June and was involved in separate disputes with a number of government departments including Transport and the Home Office, he said.
Rail union leader Bob Crow was loudly applauded when he called for a national strike in October.