Categorized | International, Local

Britons Strike as Government Extends Austerity Measures

NY Times

LONDON — Hundreds of thou­sands of public employees walked off their jobs in schools, hospitals, airports, courtrooms, libraries, museums and government offices on Wednesday, as British work­ers became the latest in Europe to demonstrate mass fury at govern­ment austerity measures.

The immediate issue was Prime Minister David Cameron’s pro­posal to require public employees to work for more years and pay more toward their pensions each month.

But the strikers’ anger goes far deeper, and as they passed gov­ernment buildings in Whitehall, some chanted, “We strike right back!” — a reference to the Con­servative-led government’s bud­get-cutting measures, which some feel amount to a war on lower-in­come workers. Many strikers said that the policy of decreasing wel­fare benefits and tax credits while also making huge cuts across the board in all government depart­ments had left them struggling at a time of rapidly rising prices.

Alistair Cunningham, who works for the Treasury, said that he and his colleagues were being made to pay for the mistakes of others. “All we want to defend is what is in our contractual right,” he said. “The crisis was caused by bankers, and the public services are an easy target.” (NYT)

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NY Times

LONDON — Hundreds of thou­sands of public employees walked off their jobs in schools, hospitals, airports, courtrooms, libraries, museums and government offices on Wednesday, as British work­ers became the latest in Europe to demonstrate mass fury at govern­ment austerity measures.

The immediate issue was Prime Minister David Cameron’s pro­posal to require public employees to work for more years and pay more toward their pensions each month.

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But the strikers’ anger goes far deeper, and as they passed gov­ernment buildings in Whitehall, some chanted, “We strike right back!” — a reference to the Con­servative-led government’s bud­get-cutting measures, which some feel amount to a war on lower-in­come workers. Many strikers said that the policy of decreasing wel­fare benefits and tax credits while also making huge cuts across the board in all government depart­ments had left them struggling at a time of rapidly rising prices.

Alistair Cunningham, who works for the Treasury, said that he and his colleagues were being made to pay for the mistakes of others. “All we want to defend is what is in our contractual right,” he said. “The crisis was caused by bankers, and the public services are an easy target.” (NYT)