Police officers march in London, joining the UK-wide public sector strike on 10 May
More than 30,000 off-duty police officers in London have joined a massive nationwide strike staged by British public sector workers against the government’s changes to pays and pensions.
Trade unions in Britain have said over 400,000 people took part in the 24-hour UK-wide strike on Thursday 10 May. Furthermore, London’s Metropolitan Police said around 32,000 off-duty police officers joined the striking public servants marching through London.
Unions are angry with the government’s pension changes saying that public sector workers are being “robbed” as they will have to pay more and work longer for lower pensions.
“We care very deeply about the communities that we serve. We have seen what happens when we have a government that has given policing a very low priority. If you are cutting our jobs, then you are cutting the service we can deliver and the public's safety is at risk”, said Paul McKeever, chairperson of the Police Federation, the union which represents officers.
However, the British government tried to downgrade the nationwide strike as Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude described it as “futile”. Maude also said the figure released by unions was “widely inaccurate” and only 150,000 public servants took part in the strike.
“It is now time that union leaders put the best interests of their members first by asking them to accept our generous offer”, said Maude.