December 1st, 2011
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Strike in UK

britian-protestLondon: Hundreds of thousands of public sector workers went on strike in Britain on Wednesday to protest over pension reform. British workers are the latest in Europe to join the demonstration against government austerity measures.

The one-day strike was seen as many as the biggest here since the 1970s, the era that brought forth the Winter of Discontent, with waves of labor disputes that all but crippled the country. However, Prime Minister David Cameron’s ridiculed the protest and called it a “damp squib”.

The strikers included social workers, garbage collectors, midwives, civilian law enforcement workers, health and safety inspectors, immigration officials, radiographers, librarians, emergency service staff members, customs officers and drivers’ test examiners, along with many others. Unions and the government were each quick to claim victory, with labor leaders saying up to two million teachers, nurses, border guards and other workers took part. The government disputed the turnout and played down the strike’s impact.

“Our rigorous contingency planning has been working well. Throughout the day it has limited the impact of the strikes significantly and as a result the majority of key public services have remained open,” said Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude.

The government said the unions’ turnout claim was “wrong” and the true figure was “significantly less.” Unions hit back, reaffirming their two million figure and rejecting again government public sector pension reforms they say will force people to work longer before they can retire and pay more for pensions that will be worth less.

 



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