Public sector workers set to strike over 'unfair cuts'


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Up to 400,000 public sector workers could strike on 10 May over the Government's controversial pension reforms after members of the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union and Unite agreed to take action the day after the Queen's Speech, which is expected to an-nounce a parliamentary bill on the issue.

The PCS, which has 290,000 workers in 200 government departments, announced industrial action after 90.5 per cent of those balloted, voted to reject the Government's pension offer.

Both national and regional protests are expected, as well as another strike in June. Meanwhile, Unite said its 100,000 NHS members faced paying £30 extra per month into their pension pots against a backdrop of pay freezes and the prospect of a regional pay scale. Their combined memberships mean that 10 May could signal the biggest strike since November 30.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: "This sends a clear message to government ministers that we do not accept their unnecessary plans to force public servants to pay more and work longer for less in retirement. We'll continue to show there's an alternative to this Government's cruel and unfair cuts that clearly aren't working."

Speaking on behalf of Unite's health members, who voted by more than 9-1 to reject the pension changes, national officer Rachael Maskell claimed the Government was "picking the pockets of health workers".

The Police Federation, however, expressed concerns that the public sector strike could overshadow its own planned march, also scheduled for 10 May. The event, a demonstration across central London, was meant to highlight the "destruction" that could be wrought by 20 per cent cuts to the police.