Public sector strike: Your views

Public sector campaigners outside Houses of Parliament

Thousands of public sector workers are on strike in a series of disputes with the government over pay, pensions and cuts.

Firefighters, librarians and council staff are among those taking part in industrial action.

BBC News website readers have shared their experiences.

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Bev Laidlaw, Sheffield

Bev Laidlaw

I work full time as a disabled employment officer and I'm also a single mother of three children.

I struggle every month to put food on the table, pay bills and struggle to even buy my children shoes.

Holidays are a thing of the past, just like trips to the cinema and birthday parties for my children.

I have worked in my job for over 23 years and this is the worst it has ever been!

I have to rely on tax credits to top up my wages.

How ridiculous is that.

I can get paid by my employer in wages, yet the same employer says that as I don't have enough to live on, they also have to top them up from a different pot!

It is getting harder and harder to explain to my children that although I work all the time, it is still not enough.

I did not cause this financial crisis but year after year my family and I are being made to pay for it.

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Andrew Eley, Oxford

Andrew Eley

I am a teacher and am not on strike today as I'm a member of NASUWT not NUT.

However, I feel like I am on strike as most of the students at my school have been told not to come in today.

The issue with essential services as I see it is that the people who work in them will always be exploitable by governments because of the altruistic nature of those who want to be teachers, police officers, firefighters, carers or any other profession labelled as an "essential service".

However, as far as the civil service is concerned I can not say I have too much sympathy.

As a former civil servant I found that these public sector workers were entitled to far more holiday and had far better terms and conditions with regard to sick pay, maternity leave and career breaks than private sector workers.

If I were on strike today, it would be simply because I do not like Michael Gove and his bullish attitude of "whatever worked for him growing up will work for everyone else too" and his short-sighted and quite simply naive understanding of what children need in education today.

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Neville Patterson, Leigh, Lancs

Neville Patterson

I am a freelance builder and have recently returned from a year spent working in China.

I value very much the work that teachers and social workers do.

However, maybe they need to appreciate how bad the recent recession has been and how fortunate they have been to receive even a modest pay increase.

I work in the construction industry where many of my colleagues have suffered redundancy.

There have also been pay cuts of 15-20% and these have still not been re-instated.

My colleagues would have been delighted to have had even a little increase rather than cuts.

Personally I would love to have twelve weeks paid holiday plus a year.

I admit that teachers and social workers do a difficult and essential job.

I just hope they do not continue to milk this otherwise they will lose public confidence.

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Stuart Grant-Salmon, Watford

I have been a firefighter for over seven years and I am taking part in today's action.

I am not only fighting for the future of my family, I am fighting for the integrity of YOUR fire service.

The fire service in my area has already been cut to the bone - including station closures.

It is ridiculous to expect firefighters to work into their sixties.

Enough is enough.

Support the strikes, do not condemn those that are against the dismantling of YOUR public services.

Interviews by Bernadette McCague

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