Saturday, May 12, 2012
UK REVOLT - 400,000 Public Sector and Police Strike Over Pension Reform
Hundreds of thousands of public sector workers are taking part in a 24-hour UK-wide strike in a dispute with the government over pension changes.
The government says current pension schemes are unfair - and unaffordable because people are living longer.
But the unions say members are being "robbed" and will have to pay more and work longer for lower pensions.
Meanwhile, walkouts by prison service staff in England, Wales and Scotland have now ended.
Among the public sector workers taking part in the 24-hour strike are civil servants, NHS workers - including paramedics - border force staff and lecturers.
Around 32,000 police officers took part in a protest march against cuts, according to Metropolitan Police estimates.
Union leaders say up to 400,000 workers are on strike, while Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude puts the total number of public sector workers who joined strikes at "close to 150,000" which includes 102,244 civil servants.
Mr Maude also said pension talks will not be reopened and "nothing further will be achieved through strike action", adding that it is "now time that union leaders put the best interests of their members first by asking them to accept our generous offer".
Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the PCS union - which estimates that an "overwhelming majority" of its 250,000 public sector members are on strike - said the UK would have "the highest pension age of any European country".
He added: "We're going to be paying more money when the cost of pensions are falling and our members have had a pay freeze for two years. So it's unfair, and ministers cannot justify the changes."
The government plans to raise the retirement age in line with the state pension age - eventually to rise to 68.
Continue reading - BBC - Public sector strikes: Workers walk out over pension changes
May 10, 2012 UK_Public sector strikes, Workers walk out over pension changes
May 10, 2012 UK_400,000 public sector workers protest against government's pension policy
Pensions row: 400,000 public sector workers on 24hr strike