Public sector on strike

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Public sector workers in Derry took part in a one day strike yesterday in protest at proposed changes to pension schemes.

Staff from the Inland Revenue office on the Duncreggan Road were among 300 workers across the North who took part in the industrial action.

Thousands of workers from England, Scotland, and Wales also took part in the 24 hour strike.

Liam Gallagher from Derry Trades Council said the strike was a protest against the British government’s actions. “3,000 members of the public service union, PCS, in Northern Ireland are joining three quarters of a million public service workers on a strike over pay, pensions, and jobs. Staff at government departments and agencies including HMS Revenue and Customs, UK borer agencies, Ministry of Defence, Northern Ireland Courts Service, identity and passport services, and others who are taking part in a 24 hour strike along with workers in England, Scotland and Wales

“The government has made it clear that it will implement Lord Hutton’s proposals on pensions meaning civil servants will face doubling and tripling of their contributions and will have to work longer for their retirement,” he said.

The trade unionist also said low paid workers would be the worst hit. “It has to be borne in mind that the pension payments that most workers are contributing towards are deferred wages for their retirement. These are not gold plated pensions. Many of the workers who this will impact are low paid workers earning just above minimum wage,” he explained.

He also said that further strike action could follow later in the year. “Unite will be meeting in July with a view to widening the industrial action in October with the possibility of one and half million workers taking part.