Disruption day for Wearside as strike hits thousands

Striking workers outside Sunderland Civic Centre.
Striking workers outside Sunderland Civic Centre.
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WEARSIDE ground to a halt today as thousands of public sector workers walked out on strike.

Schools, leisure centres and car parks were closed, bins weren’t emptied, operations were cancelled and the Metro was suspended.

Staff protesting over proposed pension changes formed picket lines outside public buildings including Sunderland Civic Centre, County Hall in Durham and Sunderland Royal Hospital.

Alison Bryan, 46, a care assistant for South Hylton, was among the workers on strike.

She said: “I think what we are doing today is defending the pensions and the whole ethos of the public sector. If we back down now and roll over they will come back and attack our terms and conditions.”

The streets of Sunderland were unusually quiet today as workers and school children stayed at home during the day of industrial action.

Schools, hospitals, courts and transport services across the country were hit by the strike, one of the biggest in decades.

But Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude launched fresh criticism of the action today, saying it was “inappropriate, untimely and irresponsible”, especially while talks were continuing.

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