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Dublin: 5 °C Saturday 22 February, 2020
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Two million staff on strike, in UK's biggest action since 1979

Public sector workers are striking, over government proposals to make staff work longer and pay more in order to earn pensions.

Workers from the East Anglian Ambulance Service picket an entrance to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Kings Lynn, Norfolk
Workers from the East Anglian Ambulance Service picket an entrance to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Kings Lynn, Norfolk
Image: Chris Radburn/PA Wire

AROUND TWO MILLION public sector workers in the United Kingdom are staging a 24-hour work stoppage today, in the biggest mass industrial action seen in the UK for over three decades.

Over 30 public unions have encouraged workers to down tools and stop work for the day in protest at government plans to make them work longer, and contribute more, before they become eligible for their public pension.

It is thought that the day of action is the largest since the ‘Winter of Discontent’ in 1979.

The FT said the action began at midnight, when hospital employees and tunnel workers walked out of work. BBC News added that the strike had led to the closure of seven out of every eight schools in England.

All transport services in Northern Ireland have been affected, which has resulted in disruptions in public transport connections to the Republic.

It had been feared that the action would lead to chronic congestion at Britain’s airports, as border control was reduced to a skeletal staff, but no such problems have been reported this morning.

Chancellor George Osborne has encouraged public unions to return to the “negotiating table” and try and find a deal acceptable to both sides.

Tensions between the sides were inflamed yesterday, however, when Osborne’s Autumn Statement proposed to raise the retirement age to 67 by the year 2026.

Transport between Ireland and UK disrupted as general strike begins >

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Gavan Reilly

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