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Prison officers join a picket outside HMP Barlinnie
HUNDREDS of public sector workers took to the rain-soaked streets of Glasgow today as they joined a nation-wide strike over pensions.
Members of the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union gathered on picket lines at offices across the city.
Prisons, jobcentres, tax offices, courts and the Scottish Government offices have all been affected by today's strike with brassed-off workers handing out campaign leaflets and holding up placards reading: "Hands Off Our Pensions."
Despite the downpour, the mood on the picket lines was upbeat.
Dougie Brownlie was outside the Ministry of Defence office on Argyle Street. He said he was angry about pension cuts and job losses.
Mr Brownlie added: "Today is about cuts predominantly to our pension, but also about job cuts in the Ministry of Defence - how that's hammering our staff and the impact and consequences of that.
"I think anger is the overriding feeling among members. The message to the Government is: we have seen what's happened across Europe over the last couple of days - we have seen that austerity is not working.
"We have seen the general public in other countries saying they want change. The first step to that change is to come back to the negotiating table on pensions, ensure you negotiate with us properly so we are not working longer, we are not paying more and we are not getting less at the end of it."
Fiona Macdonald, who works as an adult literacy officer with Education Scotland, was on the picket line outside the Scottish Government office on Broomielaw.
She said: "We're being asked to pay for the mistakes of bankers.
"We have already felt the pain of that in last month's salaries and we are all very angry about it.
"We don't feel we made this crisis and we don't know why we have to pay for it.
"The Government really need to start listening to what people are saying to them. Ordinary working-class people are paying through the nose - I think it's shocking."
The Scottish Government said about 1553 Scottish Government staff were on strike today - just over 22 per cent of the workforce.
A spokesman said: "All Scottish Government buildings remain open and arrangements are in place to ensure essential business continues."
PCS Scottish secretary Lynn Henderson said the union would get back round the negotiating table "as soon as the Government are ready to meet with us".
She added that PCS members had rejected the offer on pensions "because they do not want to pay more, work longer and receive less when they retire".
She said there had already been "significant" changes to public sector pensions, and claimed the existing civil service scheme was "affordable and sustainable for the long term".
The union leader said: "There is no reason to make these cuts, or the cuts to pay and jobs as well.
"We're one of the six most wealthy countries in the world, there is an alternative to austerity. The alternative is to invest in services and jobs, rather than increasing unemployment.
"We're now going into the second wave of recession, austerity is not working."
Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude has described the strike as "futile" and insisted that talks over pensions will not be reopened.
He said pensions talks with the unions would not be reopened.
The UK Government minister said it was "very disappointing that a handful of unions insist on carrying on with futile strike action which will benefit no one".
He urged those unions to reconsider their position, adding: "Pension talks will not be reopened and nothing further will be achieved through strike action."