FIREFIGHTERS walked out, schools shut, bins went uncollected and libraries closed as public sector workers in Hampshire joined an estimated one million strikers nationwide in response to the National Joint Council’s pay offer of a one per cent increase last Thursday.

At New Forest District Council 84 of the council’s 1,300 staff went on strike, with the highest proportion being in environment services.

Unions have joined forces to protest at pay freezes, pension cuts, Government reforms and what they say is the running down of services.

They include the Fire Brigades Union (FBU), GMB, the National Union of Teachers (NUT), the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), Unison and Unite.

Gail Cartmail, assistant Unite union general secretary (AGS) at the trade union Unite and member of the TUC executive committee and general council said last week’s mass walkout was only the beginning.

She said: “If necessary we will have more days of industrial action. It is up to our members but I think it is highly likely. It is a hard decision for our members because every day they strike they lose pay.”