British civil servants hold strike

Public services workers stage two-day strike over layoff packages.

    The two-day strike is expected to affect public services including courts and job centres [EPA]

    Officials say the 48-hour action could cause disruption at the country's ports and airports, with Heathrow Airport, Europe's busiest, expecting the strike to affect services at border control on Monday morning.

    It will also hit courts, ports, jobcentres, benefit offices, tax centres and emergency police call centres.

    'Incredible anger'

    Heathrow said passengers should expect some additional delay going through immigration.

    Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the PCS, said there was "incredible anger among hard-working public servants who are seeing their terms ripped up".

    "The strike will show how vital these people are to the running of our society. Those on strike today deliver services that touch our everyday lives from the cradle to the grave," the Press Association quoted him as saying.

    More strikes could follow as the union hopes the proximity of an election will force the government to scale back changes to redundancy pay.

    The action reflects frayed union relations with the ruling Labour government.

    Labour, which relies on union funding, is facing the prospect of defeat to the opposition Conservatives at a poll expected on May 6, after 13 years in power.

    However, opinion polls have shown the Conservatives' once considerable lead dwindling this year, raising the possibility of a hung parliament.

    Whoever wins the election will have to make substantial cuts to some government department budgets in order to bring down a budget deficit forecast to soar
    above 12 per cent of gross domestic product this year.

    The Conservatives, regarded as less union-friendly than Labour, have indicated they will focus most of the necessary fiscal tightening on spending cuts rather than tax hikes and plan to freeze public sector pay for most workers in 2011.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    What obstacles do young women in technology have to overcome to achieve their dreams? Play this retro game to find out.

    Heron Gate mass eviction: 'We never expected this in Canada'

    Hundreds face mass eviction in Canada's capital

    About 150 homes in one of Ottawa's most diverse and affordable communities are expected to be torn down in coming months

    I remember the day … I designed the Nigerian flag

    I remember the day … I designed the Nigerian flag

    In 1959, a year before Nigeria's independence, a 23-year-old student helped colour the country's identity.