UK Politics

The non-striker's view

Public sector workers are striking over proposed pension changes. The industrial action could involve up to two million people.

Some of those who voted against the strike have been explaining to the BBC News website why they made their decision and what they expect on Wednesday.

David - Teacher, Lancashire

Image caption Many schools will be affected by industrial action

Any strike should be the ultimate action that a union takes in order to get its point over. Currently the teaching unions are in negotiation with the government over pensions, those talks have not stalled or broken down therefore it seems strange that the teaching unions should be striking before talks have reached a deadlock. If it doesn't work then you have just fired the only bullet that you had.

Teachers have split into two factions: those that know the country has no money to pay for a pension scheme like the one we have, and those that 'have had it too good' and are hell bent on keeping it that way.

On Wednesday I will be attending work the same as any other day in one selfish way, it will be a time to catch up on some of the work that I have not had time to complete over the past few weeks.

The biggest problem is that the people most affected by this action are not the Government but the students. Some classes are only seen twice in a fortnight and as one class has two lessons on Wednesday it means that I will not be teaching them for a long time.

The other people I feel sorry for are the auxiliary staff who will not be taking action on Wednesday as they cannot afford to lose a day's pay and a day's pension. y all accounts there will be about 20 teachers in school on Tuesday, approximately 30%, some defying their unions and breaking the strike action.

At least I will not have to walk through a picket line on Wednesday, the two union reps in the school have agreed with the head that the dispute is against the Government not the school. I will be glad when we can put this sorry state of affairs behind us and get back to teaching the students and negotiating properly with the Government.

Catherine Worral - Social care worker, Manchester

I have worked for the local council in Social Care for over twenty years now. I voted no for strike action, the same as I have always done. I just cannot bring myself to strike regardless whether I agree or not with the cause as in my job we support some of the most vulnerable in society on a daily basis.

In this instance I don`t believe a better offer will be made and we may in fact find ourselves in a worse position.

I am a single parent of a four year old who started school in September. I received a letter home exactly a week before the planned strike to say the school was closed. I hadn`t thought about the strike affecting her school for some reason, I'm not sure why!!

Staff where I work have been informed that we are not allowed to take the day off as annual leave and if we phone in sick on that day we have to produce a doctor's note at our own expense. This is even if you have a genuine reason in that your child's school is closed and management are aware of your circumstances and you have no other options of childcare.

This I find really annoying especially since I have chosen NOT to strike in the first place.

Employers should offer an alternative to either striking or not. Lots and lots of people will have to take the day off and will obviously be classed as taking strike action when in fact they're off due to childcare or other caring responsibilities. This will also make the final figures look inflated and does not give a true reflection of the nation's agreement with strike action.

Derek - HM Revenue & Customs, Belfast

Image caption Derek cannot afford to lose a days pay through striking

I will not be joining the industrial action tomorrow. I really wish that I was able to but quite simply I cannot afford to lose a days pay. This may sound absurd to some as I do earn a decent, above average salary.

Quite simply, the spiralling costs in fuel, utilities, food and the fact that my house is worth around half what it was when I bought it five years ago means that we have no slack at all in our family budget. A days pay is the money for nearly two weeks of groceries. As a family we have had one holiday in the last six years and we spend money on very few luxuries at all.

I work in the criminal investigation arm of HM Revenue and Customs. I've worked in this field since 1989 carrying out investigations into arms trafficking, drugs, money laundering and various forms of tax fraud. I'm good at my job.

The thought of continuing in this stressful field until I'm 68 fills me with a degree of horror. That'll be 45 years (47 years in HMRC in total) whereas my colleagues in the police service (quite reasonably) work for 30 years and former colleagues who are US Federal Agents work for only 20 years doing effectively the same job.

In my case the government are basically telling me to forget about retirement and that really, they'd quite like it if I died in the job. That's how it feels.

I don't know where I'm going to find the money for the increased pension contributions but frankly I can only try and cross that bridge when I come to it. My wife too is a civil servant so she too will be asked for increased contributions so that'll be a double whammy for our family.

So yes, I'm very bitter about the Government's actions and yes, I agree with the strikers. I'm embarrassed however that I will be unable to support the strike due to my own financial circumstances which make it impossible for me to do so. So tomorrow I shall be in the office, doing my job. I dare say the criminals won't be taking the day off either.