PUBLIC sector employees in Basingstoke are taking part in a joint day of action today, joining an estimated one million workers walking out across the country.

Key local government services could be disrupted as members of some of the biggest unions including Unison, Unite and the GMB refuse to work in protest over pay, pensions and ongoing cuts.

The action has been hailed as the biggest strike over pay to hit the Government since it came to power in 2010, and among those walking out include home helps, school crossing patrols, refuse collectors, librarians, park attendants, council road safety officers, caretakers, cleaners, teachers, firefighters, civil servants and transport workers.

Several schools in The Gazette area are closed or partially closed as teachers join the strike.

Aldworth School, in Western Way, is partially closed because of the action, and is only open to Year 7 students, or Year 10 students taking mock exams.

Headteacher Denis McCabe wrote to parents to say: “I apologise for the inconvenience this may cause you and the disruption it will cause to your son or daughter’s education on this day.”

Staff from Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council formed a picket line outside the Civic Offices this morning.

Firefighters from Hampshire Fire and Rescue, who are members of the Fire Brigade Union, are also on strike between 10am and 7pm today.

The FBU has announced a series of strikes starting today and running through to July 21.

The service has reassured that emergency calls will be answered and responded to, but the level of response will be limited and may take longer than usual.