Nothing will stop UK from striking: Two thirds of schools to shut, airports set for chaos, Army on standby - but unions won't discuss a last-minute peace deal
Everybody out: Workers march through central Bristol this summer. Public sector workers have been warned that a pensions offer will be withdrawn if there is no agreement by the end of the year
Union leaders have declared there is nothing the Government can do to avert the biggest strikes in a generation this week.
As the Army is put on standby to secure Britain’s borders, millions of public sector workers are being warned that a ‘hugely generous’ pensions offer from ministers will be withdrawn if a deal is not agreed by the end of the year.
But the head of the Trades Union Congress, Brendan Barber, said it was ‘unlikely’ there was anything the Government could say to persuade him to call off Wednesday’s action.
Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude said Mr Barber had ‘let the cat out of the bag’ and demonstrated the unions are hell-bent on confrontation with the Government.
He also claimed the head of the biggest civil service union, Public and Commercial Services union leader Mark Serwotka, had refused even to attend talks in person.
Mr Maude warned the ‘irresponsible’ strikes would inflict huge damage on Britain’s economy.
Ministers are seeking to increase pressure on Labour to urge its union paymasters to call off the action, though Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls said yesterday that he had ‘huge sympathy’ for those taking part.
Wednesday’s strike, by as many as two million public sector workers, has been triggered by Government proposals to limit the £1trillion future cost of their generous pension schemes.
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