Today's strikes 'opening skirmishes'

Today's strikes of 750,000 public sector workers over plans to cut pensions are just the 'opening skirmishes' ahead of a larger, national strike later this year, according to Mark Serwotka, head of the Public and Commercial Services union.

To a pre-strike meeting of around 400 union representatives he said: 'We are talking to Unison, we are talking to GMB, we are talking to Unite.

'That is why we say to Government ‘there will be three quarters of a million tomorrow. Please talk to us. If you won’t talk to us we will ensure the next national strike has three to four million of us’.'

He continued: 'Thousands of schools will be closed, people will be stranded at airports and airports [and] court sittings will be abandoned.

'Prisoners will be held in police cells, people won’t get through to call centres at job centre plus or tax offices and some of our unique cultural institutions will be closed or disrupted.'

But the message is that today's strike is only the beginning, as Serwotka told the Telegraph: 'This is the opening skirmish. Three quarters of a million tomorrow, it could be four million in the Autumn if they do not change direction.'

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