Public sector is sick of the cuts

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Last week public sector workers told the Tory-led government that they are sick to their back teeth of pay freezes, pension raids and austerity cuts.

They also made it crystal clear that they will not put up with those cuts falling most heavily on the low paid in deprived areas.

Across the north east, tens of thousands joined the one-day in the biggest day of industrial action for four years.

Teachers walked out in more than 400 schools. Out too went firefighters, home helps, lollipop men and women, refuse collectors, librarians, dinner ladies, parks attendants, council road safety officers, caretakers, cleaners, civil servants and transport workers.

I support them all, and I will continue to support them if the government doesn’t see sense and the unions are forced to take further action.

It takes a lot of guts and determination to go on strike.

I should know, having been out throughout the miners’ strike. No one forgoes pay lightly.

The biggest issue in dispute is pay, after ministers froze public sector salaries in 2010 and introduced a one per cent cap on pay rises in 2012, which remains in place.

That means a 20 per cent real-term cut in pay since the coalition came to power.

Compare that with the latest figures, which show that millionaire executives have seen their pay packets more than double in the last year alone.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said workers had gone on strike “to say enough is enough”. That’s it exactly.

As some of the marchers chanted in Newcastle, ministers call for more cutbacks, so it is time to fight back.