Labour leader Ed Miliband says unions should rethink plans to strike over public sector pension changes this Thursday amid concerns industrial action will alienate the public.
Around 750,000 public sector workers, including teachers and civil servants, are expected to strike on June 30 after negotiations over Government plans to increase employee pension contributions and raise the retirement age broke down earlier today.
Miliband (pictured) says strike action would be a “mistake”.
He says: “Strikes are a sign of failure on both sides and Thursday’s industrial action is a mistake.
“Even with just hours to go I would urge both the unions and the Government to think again.
“I understand why teachers are so angry with the Government. But I urge them to think about whether causing disruption in the classroom will help people understand their arguments.”
However, union leaders refuse to back down.
National Union of Teachers general secretary Christine Blower says: “The Government has done nothing more today than confirm it has no intention of listening to teachers.
“They are simply draconian changes that will see teachers paying more, working longer and getting less.
“The action on Thursday is unavoidable and unless the Government starts listening rather than simply imposing its will, it leaves us with little choice other than to consider further action.”