Portsmouth workers go on strike

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PUBLIC sector workers have been manning picket lines around Portsmouth this morning as a day of strike action got under way.

Staff made their feelings known outside tax offices at Lynx House, Northern Road, Cosham, and Wingfield House, Commercial Road, Portsmouth.

There were also picket lines outside the Job Centre on Arundel Street, Portsmouth and University of Portsmouth buildings.

Members of the Public and Commercial Services Union, and school staff belonging to the National Union of Teachers, the Association of Teachers and Lecturers and the University and College Union are holding a day of industrial action in the city against government cuts and changes to public sector pensions.

Steve Woodhead, 59, who works at Lynx House, Cosham: ‘The government is making an ideological assault with the cuts they are introducing. Enough is enough. It’s about working people being treated fairly.’

Jon Hurst, 47, who has worked at HM Revenue and Customs for nine years, said: ‘It’s about giving ordinary people worthwhile pensions. Rich people aren’t paying their liability to society just like it was in the Victorian times.

‘We don’t want it to get to the point where we have to be bailed out by the generosity of society.’

Around 30 schools in The News area have been closed for the day because of the strikes.

And a union leader today warned ‘this could only be the beginning’ as hundreds of teachers walked out.

John Gawthorpe, president of NUT Hampshire, said there would be more frequent and larger strikes in the autumn if negotiations with the government over pensions are not resolved.

A protest march from Portsmouth Guildhall to Commercial Road has been scheduled to take place at midday. Campaign group Portsmouth Against Cuts Together have asked members of the public to go and show their support for the strikers.