TUC expects 28,000 on strike in Devon

Sidmouth staff join strike over pensions pay - TUC rally call in Exeter

TOMORROW, more than 28,000 public sector workers in Devon, including teachers, nurses, probation officers, civil servants, cleaners, paramedics and dinner ladies, will take part in the TUC day of action.

Nigel Costley, regional secretary of the South West TUC, said: “This is the largest protest by trade unions for a generation and is a clear demonstration of how strongly workers feel about the unfair and unnecessary changes to their pension schemes that the government are attempting to impose.

“Trade unions have always sensibly and pragmatically negotiated changes to pension schemes and are willing to do so now.

“Regrettably, this government is seeking to impose a tax on public sector workers with the sole aim of reducing the deficit, but resulting in hard working people paying more, working longer and retiring on smaller pensions.”

The TUC estimates 152,000 public servants will strike in the South West, with 4,060 in Torbay and 24,010 in the rest of Devon.

Thirty unions have balloted their members for action over government plans to change their pensions. Some haven’t taken strike action in more than a decade. Others have never balloted their members before.

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In the run up to the day of action, 23 TUC-affiliated unions and seven non-affiliates sought mandates for action from their members.

The TUC expects this to be the biggest union mobilisation in more than 30 years. In Exeter, strikers will meet at Cathedral Green at 11.30am and march along the High Street to a rally at St James Park at 12.30pm.

Across the health service, emergency cover arrangements have been made locally and members of three of the health unions not in the TUC – the BMA, RCM and RCN – who have not balloted their members for action, will also be showing support for their striking colleagues tomorrow.

Nigel Costley said: “The Government should be supporting public sector workers and public services, not attacking them. Their deficit reduction programme is an unfair tax on low paid public sector workers, at a time when families are struggling financially to make ends meet.

“Public sector workers did not cause the economic crisis and should not have their pensions raided to pay for it.”