Leader: Both sides must weather storm

THE public sector union strike on Wednesday will be enormously disruptive, inconveniencing millions of people who, for the main part, do not have their troubles to seek.

Many parents lacking family support networks will be forced to take a day of unpaid leave to look after children who should be at school. Airports will grind to a halt as volunteer border guards try to ensure the strike is not an opportunity for terrorists to sneak into the country. And operations in hundreds of NHS hospitals will be cancelled. And yet the anger expressed on picket lines will be very real and, to a large extent, understandable.

The changes proposed by the UK government, and accepted by the Scottish Government, will make a material difference to both the take-home pay and retirement prospects of millions of hard-working people. They have every right to protest against the changes, and withdrawing labour is not an unreasonable response.

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That does not mean, however, that the reforms should be abandoned. It is all very well to ask why ordinary people are having to pay the price for the mistakes of bankers and politicians. Is it fair that they have to? Probably not. But the world is now a different place and the reality is that just about everyone in Britain is paying a heavier price. And pensions as they are now are unsustainable anyway due to demographic changes. So is it right that these changes are made? Probably.