As it happened: Public sector strike

Key points

  • Tens of thousands of public sector workers have taken part in a UK-wide strike in protest at proposed changes to their pensions.
  • More than 30,000 off-duty police officers also marched in central London in protest at budget cuts and proposed pay and conditions changes.
  • Ministers say current pension schemes are unaffordable but unions say changes mean members will pay more and work longer for less.

Live text


  • Martha Buckley 
  • Stephen Robb 
  • Alexis Akwagyiram 

Last updated 10 May 2012


Welcome to our live coverage of the UK-wide strike by public sector workers in their ongoing dispute with the government over proposed pension changes. We will have the latest news, reaction and analysis, as it comes in, throughout the day.


Some quotes from earlier that outline both sides of the pensions argument: The Unite union's Gail Cartmail said under the government proposals members would "have to pay more, work longer and get less and they have said, by this very large majority, enough is enough". But Home Office minister Nick Herbert called the strike "unnecessary and futile", adding: "The government's offer on public sector pensions is an entirely fair one."


For more explanation of the strike and the background dispute, see our Q&A on the story.


Prison officers across Scotland have joined public sector colleagues in England and Wales in strike action. Staff walked out at 06:00 BST. It is illegal for prison officers in England and Wales to strike but not in Scotland. Our Scotland team has the story here.


Alex Littlewood, Reporter

at Heathrow, where border force staff are striking, says: "All seems quiet and free-flowing at Terminal 5. I have just come through border control within five minutes of stepping off a plane. I was travelling on my American passport and had to join the non-European Economic Area line, which was very short.

"Almost all of the passport checkpoints were open. The airport seems very quiet and from landing to completing immigration, baggage collection and going through customs took only 30 minutes. The customs hall, from what I could see, did not appear to be manned."


The Public and Commercial Services union says business at the Welsh Assembly was hit after Labour and Plaid Cymru members pledged not to cross the picket lines and National Museum for Wales sites are closed to the public.


Work on Royal Fleet Auxiliary ships in port in Birkenhead and Portland has been halted by the strike, says the Rail Maritime and Transport union.


The possible turnout of 400,000 estimated by the unions is disputed by government sources, who say they expect half that number.


About 100 Prison Officers Association (POA) members are staging a protest at Manchester Prison. They say enough staff remain on wings to ensure prisoner safety. About 100 officers have also walked out of Leeds prison, where a POA rep says inmates are confined to their cells.