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Public sector workers strike over pensions

Published: 10 May 2012 10:2513 comments

PUBLIC sector workers across Reading are joining their colleagues around the country on strike today over the Government's proposed changes to their pension schemes.

Jobcentre Plus employee Patrick Barnard, who was on the picket line this morning alongside fellow Public and Commercial Services Union members, said public sector staff are being made to pay for bankers' mistakes

Lecturers from the University College Union manned picket lines at Reading College this morning, causing disruption for students. The college said it has drafted in substitute lecturers.

At Reading Crown Court, where members of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) walked out, only one court is operating.

PCS members at Reading Tax Office in Watlington Street and Rural Payments Agency in King's Road are also taking industrial action, as are 75% of workers at Jobcentre Plus, where reduced services are running.

Patrick Barnard, who has worked at the Jobcentre as a disability employment advisor for five years, said: "They are raising our retirement age to 68, asking us to pay double our contributions and then giving us less at the end of it all. What caused this mess? The banks. And who bailed out the banks? The Government, but who is paying for it? Tax payers and public sector workers.

"Why should we pay for it. We're striking for private sector tax payers as much as for ourselves. They should take more from bankers and chief executives of public companies, who are still receiving big bonuses."

Members of Unite, including district nurses, psychologist and laboratory staff, from Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust are also taking industrial action but the Royal Berkshire Hospital is not experiencing disruption.

Unite members are also planning a rally outside the RBH's London Road entrance at 5.30pm before marching to the union's office in Southampton Street for a meeting on pensions and NHS reform.

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