Leading article: Strikes that cannot be justified


None should doubt the impact of the 24-hour strike by hundreds of thousands of public sector workers yesterday. Hospitals, airports, colleges, job centres, tax offices and prisons were all affected. Some 20,000 police officers clogged the streets of London.

Taken in isolation, the grievances of public sector workers might be understandable. They are, after all, being asked to pay more towards their pensions, work longer and receive less when they retire. But the Government's proposed pension reforms do not exist in isolation, and context is all.

With people living longer, the old system is no longer affordable. Workers in the private sector have already faced a similar squeeze, and even with the proposed reforms, public sector pensions will still be more generous. With times so hard for everyone, fighting for perks that must be paid for by everyone is not justifiable.