A 24-HOUR national strike of public sector workers will close schools and benefits offices in West Cheshire on Thursday.

Cambridge Road Community Primary and Nursery, Whitby Heath Primary, Woodlands Primary and the reception class at Sutton Green Primary School are all due to close for the day in Ellesmere Port.

Union leaders are threatening the biggest wave of  industrial action since the general strike of 1926, after  the Government unveiled proposals for employees to work longer and pay more for less generous entitlements in retirement.

Among the unions taking  part are the National Union of Teachers, which has predicted 13 primary and two secondary schools in West Cheshire will close.

Also striking are the Association of Teachers and  Lecturers and the University and College Union, affecting West Cheshire College and the University of Chester.

Public and Commercial  Services Union members are also walking out. Its members staff Government offices such Jobcentres and benefits offices.

The West Cheshire Trades  Council (WCTC), which  was formed last year in response to the Government’s  programme of cuts, is staging a rally outside Chester Town Hall at  12.30pm on the day of action  which will be addressed by  union speakers.

Greg Foster, of Cheshire  West NUT, fears many colleagues will have nervous  breakdowns if they have to  keep teaching into old age.

He said: “New entrants  are going to have to work  until they are 68. But at that  age you are too old to cope  with thirty five 14-year-olds  going through puberty.” 

Mr Foster said teachers  were being asked to pay  higher pension contributions, work longer and get  less generous entitlements,  amounting to a pay cut.