Britain is about to suffer its biggest strike in years. Four public sector unions representing 750,000 workers are taking Thursday off.
The Conservative-led government is freezing state wages and shedding 300,000 jobs. Now pensions are being slashed. One union leader said it was the straw that breaks the camel’s back. The prime minister says spending money dooms Britain to an economic desert.
Directly addressing union members, David Cameron said: “To those considering strike action, at a time when negotiations are ongoing, I would say to you these strikes are wrong for you, for the people you serve, for the good of the country. It’s the changes we propose that are right.”
The outcome of those negotiations is what the biggest public sector union, Unison, is awaiting before joining industrial action. But education will see an unprecedented near total walkout, as the 127-year-old Association of Teachers and Lecturers representing the best-paid in the profession is striking for the first time.
Civil service offices will also be closed and customs will be slowed in ports and airports, raising the prospect of widespread travel disruption.