Birmingham could be set for further strike action after this week’s walk out, a city union leader has warned.
Schools, colleges, courts, Government offices and job centres were to be closed or disrupted today (Thursday) as teachers, civil servants and other workers staged the biggest strike for five years, in a bitter row over pensions.
More than 220 schools were closed or had lessons disrupted as teachers stood with other public sector workers in the walk out.
Care workers, street cleaners, job centre staff, court staff and a raft of other public workers joined the 24-hour walkout by members of the National Union of Teachers (NUT), Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL), University and College Union (UCU) and Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) and public sector union Unison.
Members of the Birmingham branch of Unison joined workers on picket lines to voice their concerns about members’ contracts of employment with Birmingham City Council.
Caroline Johnson, senior branch official for Unison Birmingham, warned workers could opt for further strike action.
She said: “From our branch point of view this is the first day of continuing action, and I assume that from the point of view of the other unions if they don’t reach an agreement over the pensions situation they could strike again too.”
She added: “Public sector workers do all the jobs that keep the city running, so without us it will make a huge difference, but we have to make a stand because of these attacks on our pay.
"We are not talking about highly paid workers here who are suffering these attacks, it is those in lower-paid jobs who will be hit and we all have families to feed.”
More than 600 of the region’s schools were hit by the action, with more than 130 of Birmingham primary and secondary schools closed and a further 89 disrupted.
Roger King, general secretary of the NUT’s Birmingham branch, said: “This is a last resort but we have no choice but to take action.”