In pictures: Public sector strikes

Widespread strikes by public sector workers have been held across the UK following a series of rows with the government over pay, pensions and cuts.

Teachers, firefighters, librarians and council staff have been among those taking part in the industrial action, with a string of rallies held in cities across the UK.

Union leaders said more than a million workers had been expected to strike, with the government criticising a "handful" of leaders for the "irresponsible" action.

One of the public sector workers on strike marching through Newcastle city centre.

Union marches and rallies have been held across the UK, including in Newcastle, where public sector workers marched through the city centre in protest.

Public sector workers march through Newcastle city centre.

The biggest issue for workers has been a dispute over pay, after ministers froze public sector salaries in 2010 and introduced a 1% cap on pay rises in 2012 - which still remains in place.

Public sector worker Scott Clarke with six-year-old daughter Amber Clarke during a march through Newcastle city centre.

The Cabinet Office said one fifth of civil servants - or fewer than 90,000 workers - were on strike and that 717 Jobcentres were unaffected, with the "majority" of schools in England and Wales staying open.

Public sector workers striking in Bristol with Michael Gove masks.

However, thousands of pupils missed lessons as schools were closed and partially shut after teachers in the National Union of Teachers (NUT), including these in Bristol wearing masks resembling Education Secretary Michael Gove, went on strike.

GMB union members march through Brighton.

Almost 1,500 schools in England closed or partially closed, while more than 1,100 were shut or partially shut in Wales. The Department for Education said there was no justification for the strike.

Fire Brigades Union workers join strikes in Portsmouth.

Firefighters, including these Fire Brigades Union (FBU) members in Portsmouth, staged a nine-hour walkout in an ongoing row with the government over pay and pensions.

GMB union members march through Brighton.

The strikes, which included public sector workers in Brighton, were hailed as the biggest show of industrial action for three years and the largest since the coalition government came to power in 2010.

Public sector workers in Trafalgar Square, London

The industrial action comes as the government said it planed to change union balloting laws and the cabinet office said a "handful of union leaders" had pushed for "irresponsible strike action".

Crowds in London's Trafalgar Square

Union leaders, who addressed crowds in London's Trafalgar Square, hit back at the government by accusing it of "utter hypocrisy".

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