British state workers to go on strike on June 30

15th June 2011, Comments 0 comments

British public sector workers will stage a one-day strike against government cuts on June 30 in the biggest industrial action since the coalition came to power, unions announced Wednesday.

Up to 750,000 teachers and civil servants will take part in the mass walkout to protest against harsh austerity measures introduced by Prime Minister David Cameron's administration, trade union leaders said.

Cameron's Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition took office in May last year vowing to tackle Britain's record deficit but has since faced a series of strikes and violent protests.

Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude said it would be a "big mistake" for the strikes to go ahead while negotiations were still continuing, with fresh talks planned for later this month.

On Wednesday, members of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), which represents civil servants, voted in favour of strikes in protest at planned changes to pensions, job cuts and a pay freeze.

It came a day after strike votes by the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL). The two teaching unions on Wednesday confirmed that June 30 would be the date for the strikes.

"This result shows that public servants, who provide vital services from the cradle to the grave, will not stand back while everything they have ever worked for is taken from them," PCS leader Mark Serwotka said.

The coalition has announced cuts worth £81 billion ($131 billion, 92 billion euros) over five years to slash a record public deficit it blames on the previous Labour government.

The cuts involve most government departments, with the loss of 300,000 public service jobs and pay freezes for civil servants.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) earlier this month backed the government's cuts despite domestic calls for the pace to be slowed because the economic recovery has faltered.

The leader of the world's Anglicans, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, launched a rare attack on the coalition last week for introducing radical reforms "for which no one voted".

© 2011 AFP

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