28 Jun 2011

Cameron to urge workers to call off strike

The Prime Minister David Cameron is set to add his voice to calls for public sector workers to cancel this week’s mass strike over pensions.

David Cameron to call for public sector strike halt (Getty)

Mr Cameron is expected to use a speech later to call on the public sector unions to halt planned industrial action and accept that their pension packages must be reformed.

He will say the public sector must accept that the current pension arrangements are “not fair to the taxpayer” and unsustainable.

The Prime Minister’s comments could fuel the fire of public sector discontent. Already up to 750,000 public sector workers – including teachers, lecturers and civil servants – are planning a mass walkout on Thursday this week.

The National Union of Teachers (NUT) estimates that up to 85 per cent of schools will be at least partly shut.

The strikes, held by members of four unions, will go ahead despite hours of talks on Monday between union leaders and Government ministers aiming to avert them. Talks will resume in July and the Government is now finalising contingency plans for Thursday’s walkout.

Robust message

Mr Cameron has apparently prepared a “robust” but fair message to unions, which he will deliver at the Local Government Association annual conference.

The scale of the strikes is also due to become clearer, as schools decide whether to close and parents learn if they have to make alternative arrangements for their children.