As some 2 million public sector workers include themselves in a nationwide strike today, significant disruption is expected across most sectors. A number of airlines have already cancelled services into Heathrow as UK Border Agency staff are expected to join the industrial action. Heathrow operator BAA said it would be doing its best to implement contingency plans, but also advised passengers to expect some delays.
As many as 90 per cent of schools across the UK could be forced to close their doors today. Michael Gove, the education secretary, said it was unrealistic and unfair for the unions to expect the British tax payer to continue to pay the growing pensions bill for the public sector.
Russell Hobby, National Association of Head Teachers’ general secretary, responded to the comment by saying that any blame for union militancy should be placed on a government unwilling to engage in any real negotiations until the very last minute.
Downing Street has said it would be willing to sit down at the negotiating table again, and asked the unions to call off the action. The government said that a strike would not achieve anything.
Although Labour has condemned the walkouts, Treasury shadow chief secretary, Rachel Reeves, said more needed to be done by the government for public sector workers on a low wage who had just been told by that Chancellor that their pay over the coming two years was effectively frozen. George Osborne has just announced that it will be capped at 1 per cent.