UK Public Sector Workers Strike for Fair PayIBTimes UK

The Prime Minister's pledge to introduce tougher strike laws is "rhetoric", according to chief of one of the UK's largest trade unions.

"These are low paid workers who are saying we cannot take anymore and this is the start of our action to stand up for them and give them a voice," Dave Prentis, general secretary of Unison, told IBTimes UK.

"We are looking for a long term agreement [with local government employers], we're not looking for a sticky plaster, maybe half a per cent [pay deal] today, we want to sit down and talk about how we are going to restore local government salaries to be decent salaries.

"It's a far bigger issue than the knee jerk points made by Cameron."

"It cannot be just left to public service workers to pay the price for the [financial] crash."

His comments come as more than million public sector workers, including firefighters, teachers and civil servants, are expected to take industrial action in a row over pay.

The move follows a public sector pay freeze in 2010, and the Coalition Government's introduction of 1% pay cap in 2012 – below the most recent Consumer Price Index inflation rate of 1.5%.

Cameron condemned the strike at Prime Minister Questions on July 9 and pledged to introduce new strike laws, including a minimum turnout threshold on strike ballots, if the Conservative Party is voted into Number 10 at the 2015 General Election.

"I don't think these strikes are right," Cameron told MPs. "I think people should turn up for work."

"I think the time has come for looking at setting thresholds in strike ballots."

"How can it possibly be right for our children's education to be disrupted by trade unions acting in that way? It is time to legislate and it will be in the Conservative manifesto."

The Cabinet Office said most people will come to work as usual, but stressed that rigorous contingency plans are in place to "minimise the impact of action" and ensure that key public services remain open.