The fightback started today. Up and down the country more than 400,000 workers are on strike. Teachers, lecturers, civil service workers and 20,000 Birmingham council workers are out.
The issue of pay has united workers from several trade unions to fight back together. But pay is just one factor fuelling growing anger across the country.
The strike takes place as the government is in disarray, after its attacks on working class people have produced a level of anger that means today is the biggest blow yet to the attempt by Gordon Brown impose below inflation pay on millions of public sector workers.
Up to 200,000 teachers are staging their first national strike in 20 years. A hundred thousand civil service workers have struck. Workers at the charity Shelter are on strike today.
Tens of thousands of Further education lecturers closed colleges and Birmingham ground to a halt under the pressure of 25,000 strikers. Thousands of other workplaces are without workers as they took the day off to look after their children.
Rallies were taking place in many towns and cities bringing together workers from the different unions in a determined and defiant blow against the government.