More strikes could be held in Sheffield as union bosses fight a cycle of ‘pay cuts’ crippling workers in the public sector.
Today thousands of workers at schools, the city council and fire stations will walk out as part of a national action thought to be the biggest for decades.
The dispute has been triggered mainly by public sector pay, but pensions and workload are also issues for some employees.
Peter Davies, regional officer for union GMB which is representing council and school staff other than teachers, said: “There is a lot of anger, it is a huge strike, but this time we have collaborated so we can call more strikes on the back of it.
“We are determined as unions to beat this, what is in real terms, pay cuts in the public sector.
“If you have pay freezes for years then an offer of a one per cent rise while our members have seen their incomes drop by 15 per cent - they can’t carry on with a reasonable standard of living.”
The council has confirmed around 45 schools will close entirely and a further 49 will partially be shut because of the action.
Around 29 will be open.
South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue will also be ‘severely depleted’ as firefighters strike between 10am and 7pm over changes to their pensions - including a ‘crazy’ bid to keep them working until they are 60.
Neil Carbutt, brigade secretary of the Fire Brigades Union, said: “This is the 14th period of strike action we have taken in the last two years and we have been in negotiations with the Government for three.”
The council has said it will provide ‘essential services where possible’ to prevent disruption.
It is up to individual schools to inform parents if they are closed or partially shut by strike action.
Those on strike will meet at Devonshire Green from around 11am and march around the city centre before a rally in Barkers Pool from 12.30pm.
See www.thestar.co.uk for a video report later today.