November 30, 2011 3.42 pm This story is over 144 months old

Public workers strike over pensions in Lincoln

On strike: As schools closed, around 500 public sector workers took to the streets of Lincoln to protest against pension changes.

Around 500 public sector workers took to the streets of Lincoln on Wednesday, November 30, to strike against changes to their pensions.

Protestors congregated at the Tentercroft Street car park at 11.30am, before marching through Lincoln city centre to the Drill Hall.

Almost one hundred schools were closed across Lincolnshire because of the strike. City Hall was closed, and some council services were also affected.

County Council estimates 10% of its staff have taken strike action (15% including schools), as 203 county schools and academies remained fully open (58%).

The closure of schools affected 38% of county school children (37,920).

Dave Prichard, Staff and Student Communications Manager at the University of Lincoln, said: “What the government are doing at the moment is trying to take the pensions away from the people that deliver core support services for this country.

“Instead of penalising the banks that put us in this problem, it’s the working people that are bearing the brunt.”

Simon Colburn, a protestor from the City Council, said: “I think everyone who strikes does it very begrudgingly as a last course of action.

“This is about showing a united front, to show the public and the government that this is of serious concern, and that we’re really not happy about it and want to fight to protect our pensions.

“We’re investing for our future. We don’t want to put a burden on the state by having to claim benefits by having low-grade, poor pensions.”

Karl McCartney, Conservative MP for Lincoln, said: “I have huge respect for the hard-working men and women who keep our vital services running. We depend on them every day and they do a brilliant job.

“That’s why I am angry that union bosses have ordered millions of public sector workers to strike – even while talks are under way.

“The Government has been prepared to listen. That’s why we have made sure that anyone who is within ten years of retirement will be able to retire on their current terms.

“People working for ordinary businesses all over the country are facing tough times.

“Yet unions want the rest of us to pay even more in taxes – rather than share the burden. We are all living longer so, yes, people will have to work longer.

“And, yes, public sector workers who earn more will have to pay more so other taxpayers on less generous pension deals don’t pick up a tab they can’t afford.

“The victims of today’s strikes are the ordinary people of Britain. At a time when we are trying to get the economy back on its feet, a strike is the last thing anyone needs.”

Photos by Dominic Clark for The Lincolnite