Britain's government says it will stand firm over pensions

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Britain's government says it will stand firm over pensions

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Union leaders in the UK have warned the government of more industrial action if there is no attempt to settle the public sector pensions dispute.

On a day of protest not seen since the 1980s, hundreds of thousands of workers yesterday went on strike across the country to protest against pension cuts.

One father of three explained why he was prepared to take industrial action: “If we don’t defend the welfare state and our pensions now, then for my children and children like them, there’s not going to be any pensions for the public sector or anybody else. So unless we stand now to do something about it, then there won’t be anything for their generation.”

Unions say the reforms mean having to work longer and pay more for pensions which will be worth less.

One of several students felt strongly about the government plans, telling reporters: “What this government is failing to tell the British public is that if the public sector pensions are affected and cut, employers will do the same to private sector workers. Everyone deserves a fair pension, everyone works for it. This government should realise that.”

But while the unions described Wednesday’s walkout as a success, Britain’s prime minister derided it as a “damp squib” and said he was standing firm on unaffordable public sector pensions.

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