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UK: 2million Set to Strike in Biggest Strikes in Over a Generation (29 November 2011) 

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Old 11-29-2011, 07:33 PM
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UK: 2million Set to Strike in Biggest Strikes in Over a Generation (29 November 2011)

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Up to two million public sector workers will stage a strike over pensions from midnight in what is set to be the biggest walkout for a generation.

Schools, hospitals, airports, ports and government offices will be among sites disrupted, as more than 1,000 demonstrations are due across the UK.

It would "achieve nothing", Downing Street said, calling for more talks.

Unions object to government plans to make their members pay more and work longer to earn their pensions.

In a statement on the eve of the strike, Cabinet Office Minister Francis Mr Maude branded the action "indefensible and wrong".

"While discussions are continuing, I would urge public sector workers to look at the offer for themselves rather than listening to the rhetoric of their union leaders," he said.

"These are the sort of pensions that few in the private sector can enjoy."

Earlier, union leaders reacted angrily to Chancellor George Osborne's Autumn Statement announcements of a public sector pay cap of 1% for two years, as well as bringing forward to 2026 the rise in the state pension age to 67.

'Failure to negotiate'

GMB union leader Paul Kenny said: "As well as the shameful unfairness of further pay restraint on already hard-pressed public sector workers, the chancellor's announcements will push the possibility of a pensions deal further away.

"The [pension] contribution rises government want are plainly unjustified and unaffordable, while moving the goalposts on retirement age mid-negotiation smacks of deliberate deception. No doubt this will boost the strike turnout tomorrow."

Paul Noon, leader of civil service union Prospect, said members felt the chancellor was "aiming yet another punch at them".

The 24-hour strike is expected to disrupt courts, job centres, driving tests and council services, such as libraries, community centres and refuse collections. Highways Agency staff will be on strike, as will many Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs).

It is feared as many as 90% of England's schools could be forced to close by striking teachers.

Education Secretary Michael Gove has said it is "unfair and unrealistic" to expect taxpayers to foot the growing public sector pensions bill.

General secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers Russell Hobby responded that "blame for any rise in union militancy - particularly among moderate unions - belongs fairly and squarely at the government's door: A failure to negotiate in any meaningful sense until the last minute".

Contingency plans
The UK Border Agency is set to be hit by the walkout of Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union members, and the agency has warned that "people travelling into the UK may experience delays at border control".

Heathrow operator BAA has said that, with contingency plans in place, it hopes that delays at immigration "could be contained to within two to three hours".

The government has said no border controls will be relaxed to ease queues.

Hospital managers are planning to postpone thousands of non-emergency operations because of the strike.

Patients needing urgent treatment such as chemotherapy and kidney dialysis will still be able to get it, and maternity units will remain open.

Calls to 999 will still be answered, but patients are being urged to think carefully and call only if it is a genuine emergency.

The strike was "irresponsible and reckless", said John Longworth, the director general of the British Chambers of Commerce.

He added: "Trade unions are living in a bubble and ignoring the fact that Britain has to make its way in a competitive world."

Weather forecasting staff at the Met Office, catering staff in the House of Commons and museum curators are also among those due to walk out on Wednesday.

Source : http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-15953806

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Old 11-30-2011, 09:31 AM
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Re: UK: 2million Set to Strike in Biggest Strikes in Over a Generation (29 November 2

I chose the wrong day to go xmas shopping, is was absolutely manic full of people and kids

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Old 11-30-2011, 02:20 PM
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Re: UK: 2million Set to Strike in Biggest Strikes in Over a Generation (29 November 2

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They took to the streets in their thousands with the intention of voicing their anger to the Coalition in the bitter row over pensions.
But it seems that although many stuck to their task of manning the picket lines in protest, others decided to use their day off for an altogether more leisurely pursuit.
With schools closed due to strike action, many parents and children with a rare weekday off seized the opportunity for an extra day's Christmas shopping.
Many shopping centres which would normally have been only moderately busy were instead crammed with shoppers who had a rare break from work or school.
One centre chief declared: ‘Christmas is well and truly underway at last’, as bargain hunters packed into store aisles.
Bluewater shopping centre in Kent reported a seven per cent increase in footfall, which bosses directly attributed to the national strikes.
Tim Hollands, Assistant General Manager at the centre, said: 'I have no idea why we’ve been so busy but I would suggest that some of the shoppers today were public sector workers and parents with children who aren’t at school.



'In particular, there are a lot of families at Bluewater today, due to some schools being closed and many parents being off work.'
At the Trafford Centre, Manchester, Gordon McKinnon, Director of Operations, said: 'Christmas is well and truly underway at The Trafford Centre today, as people take advantage of a midweek day off.
'Manchester has experienced a huge jump in footfall, compared to the same day last year.'

The trend of increased shopping traffic continued elsewhere nationwide, with the Metrocentre in Newcastle also reporting swollen numbers.
Tim Lamb, general manager of Newcastle’s Metrocentre said: ‘It has been a very, very busy day today.’
A spokesman for Brent Cross Shopping Centre, north-west London, said: 'We’ve had a lot of families and parents who have had to look after their kids because of the strike it’s been a great day.
'It’s felt a bit like a busy weekend not a week day.'
North of the border, meanwhile, Silverburn Shopping Centre in Glasgow said it expected up to 15,000 more customers than on a normal weekday, according to the BBC.
The 24-hour walkout by two million workers is being staged amid union fury over plans to reform pensions which will involve members working longer and having to pay more.
It is the biggest strike for over 30 years, with schools, hospitals, courts, transport and government all set to be hit by the walkout.
But Mr Cameron told the House of Commons: ‘So far the evidence would suggest that 40 per cent of schools are open.’
He also said the country had full ambulance service cover and that just 18 out of 900 job centres were closed.
Millions of children stayed at home today as teachers and heads took to the picket lines, affecting almost three in four schools.

The Department for Education (DfE) said it believed that more than half of England's 21,700 state schools - 58 per cent - are closed, with a further 13 per cent partially shut. About 13 per cent are open, the DfE said, while the rest are unknown.
Although Heathrow was today braced for major disruption, some passengers claimed border controls were 'better than usual'
The airport yesterday warned of arrivals expecting a two or three hour wait at passport control, due in part to workers staffing the borders having limited training.



Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude said a 'significant' number of civil servants had volunteered to cover for striking Border Agency staff, including a 'considerable' number from the Ministry of Defence.
Even Gabby Bertin, Mr Cameron's long-serving spokeswoman, stood in for UK Border Agency staff at Heathrow today.
Mr Maude, who is the Prime Minister's official spokesman said: 'There are going to be queues but we have proper contingency plans in place and we have been training people to do what we can to mitigate the impact.'

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Old 11-30-2011, 04:36 PM
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Re: UK: 2million Set to Strike in Biggest Strikes in Over a Generation (29 November 2

so some of them went christmas shopping instead manning the picket lines.

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Old 11-30-2011, 05:43 PM
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Re: UK: 2million Set to Strike in Biggest Strikes in Over a Generation (29 November 2

some pictures of the police preperations for today


























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