Up and down the country today thousands of teachers, civil servants, health workers and local government workers in Hampshire have walked out on their usual roles to join the action against the proposed changes to pension schemes.
These public sector workers are manning dozens of picket lines outside the university, hospital, job centre and tax office to show their anger at the government’s plans to make them pay higher pension contributions.
The union was further provoked yesterday by the government’s plans to cap public sector pay rises by one percent when the current wage freeze ends.
When asked about the purpose of the strike, lecturers outside the university, who did not want to be named, said: ‘It’s not that we want the students to suffer but we need to stand up for what we believe in, what we’ve worked hard for. In fact, I know many members of staff are still running one to one sessions with students’.
Accountants, James Cowper, estimate that this industrial action will cost the Hampshire economy £10m.
The strikers will join to march down to the city centre at lunchtime, where all roads will be closed. Up to 10,000 union members and supporters will participate in the march through Southampton for a rally in the Guildhall square. This is expected to be one of the largest protest gatherings in the south.