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Public sector workers protest against pension reforms

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by Kay Mitchell
”Public

A 24-hour strike is underway in the UK as public sector workers protest against pension reforms.

The Public and Commercial Services (PCS), which is Britain’s largest civil service union, as well as three teaching unions, are protesting against changes to their pensions.

The industrial action will result in Britain’s worst strike for decades and will affect every person in the country, according to Mark Serwortka, General Secretary of the PCS.

Schools, colleges, courts, Government offices and job centres are all affected while ports and airports will see disruptions and travellers have been warned to expect delays.

Mr Serwotka warned that walkouts could continue for the next four years after branding the cuts as “daylight robbery”. He added civil servants were being asked to work up to eight years longer and accept a three-fold rise in their contributions, while also seeing their eventual payments slashed.

In response, the Government has said the changes to pensions are necessary after it said they have become unsustainable as people are living longer.

David Frost, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, supported the cuts and said they are “essential”.

“The private sector has had to wake up to the tough realities of pension provision in a rapidly changing world, and the public sector must do the same,” said Mr Frost.

Other business leaders have warned industrial action could have a major impact on industry.

According to Mike Cherry of the Federation of Small Businesses, the recovery is fragile and strike action “will have a wider impact on the economy as businesses lose productivity – something the economy simply cannot afford.”

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News posted: June 30, 2011

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