March and rally in Wakefield as unions vent fury over low pay and cuts

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Striking public sector workers staged a rally in Wakefield city centre today after walking out in protest at low pay and cuts to their pensions.

Unions called a one-day strike which closed schools and disrupted council services in a long-running dispute with the government.

Strikers gathered outside the city’s cathedral as carers, social workers, refuse collectors, street cleaners and teaching assistants took part in a national day of action.

Unions including the National Union of Teachers (NUT), Fire Brigades Union, Unison and GMB were among unions took part in the strike, which was also in protest at huge public spending cuts by the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition.

Fire fighters have also called eight days of strike action from Monday in a dispute over cuts to their pensions.

Unison’s Chris Jenkinson told today’s rally: “Unless we organise in the workplace and in the community, we are going to wake up one day to find out the welfare state that we very much value has gone, and it will always be extremely difficult to replace.”

Unison said some council workers were struggling to make ends meet, even taking second jobs and turning to food banks, after a string of pay freezes and wage increases below the rate of inflation.

Around a million public sector workers were expected to take part in the action UK-wide.