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Britain Goes on Strike

Public sector workers strike over pensions, retirement age
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 30, 2011 7:35 AM CST
Britain Goes on Strike
Health workers hold placards during a strike on a picket line outside the main entrance of University College Hospital (UCH) in London, Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2011.   (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

(Newser) – Public sector workers across Britain went on strike today in protest of government demands that they contribute more to their pensions and wait longer to receive them. As many as 2 million were expected to strike, according to the AP, making it the biggest action in Britain since 1979. Only 13% of English schools fully opened, the BBC reports, with another 13% partially open. Ambulance services are struggling, with one saying it was only responding to “life-threatening emergencies.” In Northern Ireland, trains and buses have stopped working entirely.

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But the Telegraph is unimpressed; its current top headline is “Strike Fails to Bring Country to Standstill.” It notes that air travel so far has been completely unaffected, despite dire predictions of 12-hour lines. Indeed, the Cabinet office says less than a third of civil servants actually went on strike. “The strike is not going to achieve anything, it’s not going to change anything,” said Chancellor George Osborne. But Ed Miliband backed the strikers, saying the government “refused to negotiate properly." (Read more England stories.)

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