Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

'Dunkirk spirit' to face strikes

Britons will display a 'Dunkirk spirit' to deal with disruption caused by strikes by public sector workers, a business leader has said

Britons will display a "Dunkirk spirit" to deal with disruption caused by strikes by public sector workers, a business leader has said.

John Cridland, director general of the CBI, said he believed the public did not want to be "messed around" and would do all they could to get on with their normal lives.

Up to 750,000 teachers, civil servants and other public sector employees are set to strike on June 30 in a row over pensions, but industrial action could spread later in the year to over a million workers.

Dave Prentis, leader of Unison, has warned the outbreak of industrial unrest could be the worst since the 1926 General Strike.

Mr Cridland said people might struggle to get their children to school and have to change work patterns, adding: "I think there will be a degree of Dunkirk spirit.

"People don't like being messed around, especially with monopoly services. They will want to get on with their lives."

Mr Cridland said public sector strikes would cause disruption, but would not disrupt the economy.

He said recent ballots for strikes had backed the CBI's call for changes to employment law so that 40% of those eligible to vote would have to back strikes before industrial action could go ahead.

The CBI leader supported the Government's planned reforms to public sector pensions, saying they were "critical".

He urged the two sides to continue negotiating and criticised recent "hystrionics" through the media.

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