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British public-sector workers ranging from immigration officials to teachers are almost certain to strike on Wednesday in protest to public pension reforms that would require workers to pay more for their pensions while working longer before retirement. Reuters reports that union leaders are indicating there will be no negotiations between them and the government before Wednesday. Almost two million workers are expected to take part in the strike. Two-thirds of the country’s schools are expected to be closed while flights to London’s Heathrow airport have been cancelled amid fears of chaos caused by a lack of staff.
The government has defended the plans to make workers work longer for their pensions by stating that the country’s population is living longer than before which justifies a higher retirement age.
The potential strike has divided opinion in the UK. The Telegraph, analysing polls in the British media, concluded that half of the British public oppose teachers and civil servants striking over pensions. Additionally, the newspaper noted that only 23 per cent of those polled said that opposition and Labour Party leader, Ed Miliband, should support the strikes; he’s currently sitting on the fence over the matter.
In the other corner of opinion, The Guardian has put forward the case that striking protects the public sector as a whole in addition to its workers. It also argues that this action is the only way to defend pensions and force ministers to act.
Regardless of whether this strike is reasonable or not, Wednesday promises to be an extremely disruptive day across the UK with no negotiation over pensions looking likely in the near future.