100,000 set to join anti-cuts demo
Activists are gearing up for the biggest union protest in more than 20 years as a survey suggests more than half of public-sector workers would consider taking industrial action.
Upwards of 100,000 union members and campaigners are expected to join a march and rally in London against cuts in public spending and attacks on jobs, services and pensions.
Almost 650 coaches have been hired from towns and cities across the UK as well as 10 chartered trains from areas including Scotland and the north-west of England.
A survey by Unison and the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union showed that a third of public-sector workers had personal debts of £10,000 or more, revealing the "shocking impact" of the Government's cuts and pay freeze.
The poll of 10,000 workers also revealed that many were cutting spending on food, children's clothes, healthcare and going out.
Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said: "Workers across the public sector are under siege from all sides, from job and service cuts, to pension increases, pay freezes and rising inflation.
"This survey shows the coping strategies that members have been forced to take to make ends meet, and they make grim reading.
"The level of personal debt is frightening. You know that when a family is forced to cut down spending on their children, they have tried everything else first and are pretty desperate."
Research for recruitment website totaljobs.com found that 52% of public-sector workers would consider industrial action over issues including job cuts and pension changes. Most of the 1,600 workers questioned said any cuts should be targeted at consultants or management.
A separate study by recruitment consultants Badenoch & Clark found that cuts in the public sector had left departments under-resourced, resulting in poor staff morale. The survey of 1,000 workers found little support for spending cuts, with three out of five describing morale as average or poor.