UK strikes over planned pension cuts

2011-06-30 Vatican Radio

Teachers and civil servants marched through the streets and picketed government buildings across Britain on Thursday to protest planned pension reforms. Echoing protests across continental Europe against austerity measures imposed to reduce debt, the strikes are the first in what unions say will be a wave of action against steps by the British government that will cut the value of public sector pensions. “The impact of public expenditure cuts has only really started over the last few months,” says Charles Wookey, Assistant General Secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales. “Unemployment is just beginning to rise now. But many of the effects, I think, will become much more apparent over the next 12 months.” Unions say about 750,000 workers joined the one-day strike, disrupting courthouses, tax offices and employment centres, as well as schools. “It’s a significant show of support for the strikers,” Wookey told Vatican Radio. Listen to Charles Wookey’s full interview with Kelsea Brennan-Wessels: 00:04:34:70