Thousands of people took to the streets of Liverpool today to protest against government plans to revise public sector pensions.

 

The march was part of a country-wide strike by public sector staff, including teachers and health workers, with suggestions that as many as two million people did not go to work.

 

Police estimate 12,000 people joined the march from the Pier Head to St George’s Hall, where a rally was held.  Union officials addressed a peaceful crowd, which remained in good spirits despite a large police presence.

 

Lynne Collins, North West delegate for UCU (University and College Union), was among those who welcomed the support they had received from the people of the city. She said: “The solidarity shown today has been fantastic. Everybody we have come across has supported the people on strike today.”

 

Carl Roper, National Organiser of the TUC (Trades

Union Congress), added on Twitter: “Liverpool

march applauded by shoppers as it goes.”

 

Public services throughout Liverpool were

disrupted. The majority of the city’s schoolchildren

were handed an unexpected day off as many schools

chose to close.

 

The Royal Liverpool Hospital was open despite a

picket line outside the main entrance, but many

non-essential operations had to be cancelled.

 

Roads across the city were also unusually quiet

as many motorists chose to stay at home, while

both tunnels were closed, which meant up to

95,000 motorists had to make alternative travel

arrangements between Liverpool and the Wirral.

 

Dave Thomas, a council worker, said: “This is

not just about pensions, it is about preserving the

future of my kids. I’m 57 and my working life is

almost over.

 

"But things look really bad for the next generation

and we’ve got to change that, starting now.”

 

David Cameron and Ed Miliband clashed angrily

in the Commons earlier today over the industrial

action as the Prime Minister claimed the strike

looked “like something of a damp squib”.

 

The Conservative leader said his Labour counterpart

was being “irresponsible and weak” as he had only

just backed the march, with Miliband accusing the PM

of “spoiling for this fight” and said people have lost

faith because "he's not being straight".

 

Home Secretary Theresa May told the BBC she

recognises people are concerned about pensions but

that the government has made a "generous" offer and

going ahead with the strike is "irresponsible".

 

Pension reforms strike action hits Liverpool

By Liam Deveney, Vegard Grott (main video), Amy Konate, Sarah Botham & Lene Brennodden

JMU Journalism Liverpool Life

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JMU Journalism TV reports from the protest; thousands protested against government pension reforms

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Radio report by Lene Brennodden

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Video report by Sarah Botham & Amy Konate

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Pic: Vegard Grott