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Britain faces national strike threat as pressure mounts on TUC for action over pay and pensions

A leading trade union has called for a 24-hour general strike to hit back at the Government's "vicious" spending cuts amid the growing prospect of a huge outbreak of industrial action in the coming weeks.



The annual conference of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) unanimously backed calls for the TUC to co-ordinate a nationwide walkout against "attacks" on pay, pensions and services.

Delegates at the Bournemouth conference also agreed to moves aimed at co-ordinating campaigns and strikes with other unions.

Speakers lined up to attack the Government over the cuts, saying they were hitting workers and families and leading to cuts in essential public services.

The union's Eastern regional secretary Paul Moffat said the young, elderly, schools, police and prisons were all being hit by spending cuts, accusing ministers of having "no regard" for their actions.

"The attacks are causing irreversible damage to public services. Many unions are moving towards co-ordinated action and we must be part of it.

"This crisis was not caused by us, or our families, but we are paying for it. We need to work together with other unions, and the TUC should co-ordinate a 24-hour strike.

"If the Tories carry on it will be too late and we will be back to the levels of inequality not seen since Victorian times."

Paul Garroway from Oxford said leading members of the Government did not use public services, adding that claims from ministers that everyone was "in this together" were a "lie".

He told delegates: "The bankers continue to get bonuses, the champagne still flows for the rich, but we are expected to foot the bill for a crisis we did not create."

The conference, representing over 200,000 postal, telecoms and finance workers, voted unanimously to support calls for a general strike, which officials will now raise with the TUC.

The vote came as leaders of the University and College Union met to discuss the next steps in their bitter dispute over university pensions, which could lead to industrial action affecting exams and admissions.

UCU members have already taken part in a series of one-day walkouts at various universities, but union officials are now warning that continuing this line may not be enough, and that more serious industrial action may be needed.

This could include action that disrupts exams and the university admissions process. Today's meeting of the union's higher education committee comes ahead of its annual congress next weekend.

Thousands of council workers will take industrial action this week, including strikes, in a row over terms and conditions, hitting refuse collection, street cleaning and other services.

Members of Unite and Unison at Southampton City Council will take action after claiming that thousands of workers face being sacked and re-engaged on substantially lower terms and conditions.

Meanwhile, members of the Public and Commercial Services union will start voting this week on whether to stage strikes in protest at cuts in jobs, pay, pensions and services.

PCS leader Mark Serwotka has warned that more than 750,000 workers could join a 24-hour walkout on June 30 as part of growing industrial unrest against Government cuts.

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