Public sector workers took strike today (July 10), forcing schools to shut and bringing many other council-run services to a halt.
The co-ordinated day of industrial action saw union members from Unison, GMB, National Union of Teachers and Fire Brigades Union (FBU) down tools over a row with the government over pay and pensions. As well as dozens of schools in west London remaining closed or partially closed, services including libraries, waste collection and street cleaning were also affected.
In Hillingdon, Unison representative Colin Britnell was joined by public sector workers outside Uxbridge Civic Centre in the High Street today - but the council said it was business as usual for the vast majority of services.
In Hounslow 12 of the borough's 15 secondary schools were closed or partially closed, with only Isleworth & Syon boys school, Lampton School and Reach Academy staying open. However the Civic Centre, home to Hounslow Council opened as usual , albeit with a disrupted service.
And spare a thought for residents in Harrow borough who may have to wait up to a fortnight for their bins to be emptied after refuse collectors joined UNISON, Unite and the GMB's coordinated action. Unison said public support in Harrow was with them but Conservative leader Susan Hall denounced the strikes.
In Hammersmith, public sector workers made themselves heard with a noisy demonstration outside the Town Hall (see the video) and in Brent, the leader of the Labour run authority councillor Mohammed Butt, joined the picket line in a show of solidarity.
Metropolitan Police staff picketed at Parliament and New Scotland Yard on Thursday morning over a 1% pay rise being offered, which they say is inadequate.
They were joined in the morning by Green Party London Assembly member Jenny Jones, who said: "Why are London’s public servants like the police, teachers or nurses, having their pay squeezed when it was the bankers who crashed the economy and it is the bankers who are still enjoying their big bonuses? The minimum we should be aiming for is everyone in London being paid at least the London Living Wage."
However the Government played down the impact of the strike, saying that most schools in England and Wales were open and fire services were operating throughout the country.
David Cameron told parliament on Wednesday that the Conservative Party would include a pledge to limit unions' powers to call strikes in its general election manifesto next year.
The Prime Minister said: "How can it possibly be right for our children’s education to be disrupted by trade unions acting in this way?"