Today in the UK Public sector workers are staging a strike over pensions.
Thousands of schools are closed and hospital operations have been cancelled. Unions object to government plans to make their members pay more and work longer to earn their pensions.
The strike is having the following effects according to the BBC:
- Department for Education figures suggest more than half (58%) of England’s 21,700 state schools are closed, with another 13% partly shut
- In Scotland, 30 of the 2,700 council-run schools are believed to be open, says local authority body Cosla, while in Wales 80% of schools are shut. In Northern Ireland, three of the five education library boards have reported that over 50% of 1,200 schools are closed
- Plane arrivals and take-offs at Britain’s two biggest airports – Heathrow and Gatwick – are said to be largely unaffected with only a few cancellations of in-bound transatlantic flights to Heathrow
- In Northern Ireland, no bus or train services are operating
- Unions estimate about 300,000 public sector workers are on strike in Scotland while 170,000 workers in Wales are taking action
- NHS managers say about 6,000 out of just over 30,000 routine operations have been cancelled across the UK as well as tens of thousands of appointments
- BBC News Channel’s chief political correspondent Norman Smithtweeted: ”(Health Secretary) Andrew Lansley says patients who have ops cancelled today will still be seen within 18-week limit.”
- London Ambulance Service tells BBC London it is “struggling” and said people not in a life-threatening condition may not get an ambulance while South East Coast Ambulance Service says it is now only responding to “life-threatening emergencies”
- Union leaders say although court staff are taking action, the trial of two men accused of killing of teenager Stephen Lawrence will not be disrupted
- BBC political correspondent Mike Sergeant tweeted: ”Union official outside HMRC in Whitehall predicting 70% of those who work in the building will strike.”
- Ahead of a national march which has started in London, four arrests were made, two for assaulting an officer and two for possession of a weapon
- Sixteen job centres out of over 700 are closed, according to the cabinet office
- Demonstrations are taking place across the UK, with thousands currently marching in places including Birmingham, Leeds, Exeter and Aberdeen