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The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Your - By ADAM UREN adam.uren@pe­ter­bor­oughto­day.co.uk @Etadamu

UNION lead­ers claim “sev­eral hun­dred” public sec­tor work­ers in Peter­bor­ough went on strike against pen­sion and re­tire­ment age changes yes­ter­day.

City mem­bers of the Public and Com­mer­cial Ser­vices Union (PCS) were among the hun­dreds of thou­sands who staged walk­outs na­tion­ally as they op­pose Gov­ern­ment plans to raise the re­tire­ment age from 65 to 68 and end final salary pen­sions.

The walk­out af­fected the city’s mag­is­trates’ court, the Pass­port Of­fice, the Land Reg­istry, Job­cen­tre Plus and the Rev­enue and Cus­toms of­fice, the PCS say. How­ever, the dis­rup­tion caused seemed to be min­i­mal with ser­vices still run­ning.

Some 100 po­lice of­fi­cers from Cam­bridgeshire trav­elled to London on their days off to join a protest march against the level of cuts forces are be­ing forced to make.

Mean­while in March, around 80 prison staff staged a protest at HMP White­moor in ac­tion or­gan­ised by the Prison Of­fi­cers As­so­ci­a­tion (POA).

Richard Ed­wards, the re­gional sec­re­tary for the PCS in Peter- bor­ough, said: “It has been very strongly sup­ported and the mes­sage we are giv­ing to the Gov­ern­ment is that it may have given the im­pres­sion these changes are done and dusted, but these work­ers in Peter­bor­ough are say­ing: ‘No, it’s not’.

“The strug­gle will go on. Our mem­bers are not pre­pared to ac­cept that they will have to keep on work­ing un­til they are 68, which will be the high­est re­tire­ment age in Europe.”

Oz Mer­ry­gold, deputy gen­eral sec­re­tary of the Cam­bridgeshire Po­lice Fed­er­a­tion, was one of the of­fi­cers who marched in London yes­ter­day.

He is un­happy with the level of cuts be­ing im­posed on the po­lice force, which has con­trib­uted to a re­duc­tion in po­lice of­fi­cers serv­ing in Peter­bor­ough by al­most 50 in the last two years.

He said: “One of the main rea­sons we’re march­ing is be­cause of the frus­tra­tion at the Gov­ern­ment which is en­forc­ing cuts which are chang­ing the fun­da­men­tal na­ture of polic­ing.”

A Home Of­fice spokesman said that there was some dis­rup­tion at the city’s Pass­port Of­fice yes­ter­day, but for the most part it was busi­ness as usual.

He said: “We had con­tin­gency plans in place and made ev­ery ef­fort to pro­vide pass­port ser­vices as usual.

“There may have been some dis­rup­tion but we took ev­ery mea­sure to en­sure our ser­vices re­mained open.”

Peter­bor­ough MP Ste­wart Jack­son said: “These strikes will achieve noth­ing but will in­con­ve­nience po­ten­tially thou­sands of peo­ple in Peter­bor­ough. Many will be sym­pa­thetic to public sec­tor work­ers over changes to pen­sions and work­ing prac­tices but it’s what has al­ready hap­pened in the pri­vate sec­tor.”

STRIK­ERS: PCS union mem­bers strike out­side Peter­bor­ough Mag­is­trates’ Court yes­ter­day.

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