Thousands of workers protest over public sector pension cuts

Written on:May 10, 2023
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London opposes cuts

Over 400,000 public sector workers, including police officers, immigration staff and lecturers, are expected to join the nationwide strike and march the streets today to protest over pensions, pay and jobs.

The dispute over the pension was fuelled by ministers claims in yesterday’s Queen’s Speech that they are pressing ahead with their controversial reforms. Unions leaders say the changes will leave workers paying more and working longer for lower pensions.

However, government insists that current pension schemes are unfair and unaffordable because life expectancy has increased. Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude labelled the strike as “futile” and pressed that there will be no further talks over pensions.

Meanwhile, Ministry of Defence staff, immigration officers, off-duty police officers and members of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary will also join the strikes and other forms of protest across the UK.

Picket lines will be mounted outside jobcentres, courts, at airports, Parliament and other Government buildings across the country. The officers, who are banned from striking under law, will march through central London in a protest against reforms. It is expected to be the biggest police rally since a protest in 2008 against a pay award imposed by the then Labour home secretary Jacqui Smith.

The dispute over the changes in pension scheme has been going on for more than 18 months now and further strikes are expected to take place in June and throughout the summer.

Unite assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail said, “Today’s industrial action will build on the high level of anger that was on display during the November 30 strikes.This anger has been increased by the Government’s hardline insistence that public sector employees work longer, pay more and receive less when they eventually retire.”

“Our members believe that the Government is attacking their pensions as a means of helping reduce the budget deficit, which has been caused by a greedy City elite, that has brought the economy to its knees. This is blatantly unfair. George Osborne’s austerity plans are beginning to sicken everyone. A work-until-you-drop culture in this country is not because people want teachers, nurses, firemen struggling at work into their 70s”, Cartmail added.

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