Strike to have 'significant impact'
The biggest strike for five years will cause huge disruption to schools, courts and travel on Thursday in the most serious industrial challenge to the coalition since it was formed.
Hundreds of thousands of teachers, lecturers, civil servants and other workers will walk out for 24 hours in protest at controversial plans to change their pensions, cut jobs and freeze pay.
Mark Serwotka, leader of the Public and Commercial Services union, said it was the most important strike in his union's history, adding: "Everything we have ever worked for is under attack."
The Prime Minister launched a fresh attack on the strike, while business leaders warned it will have a "significant impact" on industry.
David Cameron told MPs there was no case for industrial action and repeated that the proposed changes to public sector pensions were "fair". Speaking at Prime Minister's question time, he said he hoped "as many mums and dads as possible" would be able to take their children to school despite the action.
He also attacked Labour leader Ed Miliband, who did not ask about the walkout, accusing him of being "in the pocket of the unions".
The British Chambers of Commerce said disruption will lead to many parents having to take the day off work to look after their children, losing them pay and hitting productivity.
Downing Street said the Government is doing everything possible to ensure it is "business as usual" on Thursday. "We have been for some time putting contingency plans in place to ensure essential services are maintained," the Prime Minister's official spokesman said.
Based on returns from around three-quarters of the schools in England, the Government expects around a third will be shut completely, a third will be partially affected, and a third will remain open. Officials expect that around one in five of the UK's 500,000 civil servants will take part in the strike.
Nevertheless, Downing Street said it is thought the "vast majority" of courts, job centres, and HM Revenue and Customs call centres will remain open as usual.