Thousands of council workers and civil servants across the West Midlands have taken to the streets to start a 48-hour strike over a disputed pay rise.
Some schools were closed to pupils for the day, along with many libraries and a number of museums and civic buildings.
But Birmingham City Council said the impact of the strike was less than feared, with just 19 schools out of more than 400 closed, and only two rubbish collection routes cancelled out of about 100.
Between a quarter and a third of people at the Council House in Birmingham are estimated to have walked out, with thousands more on strike across the West Midlands.
In Wolverhampton, more than forty schools were closed or partially closed, and no household or garden rubbish or kerbside recycling was collected.
Two dozen schools in Walsall were also affected.
All libraries in Stoke-on-Trent were closed, as well as eight schools.
Coventry City Council said 12 schools were closed and refuse collections had been disrupted.
In Staffordshire, 20 schools were closed or partially closed. Nine in Worcestershire were shut and a similar number in Herefordshire and Shropshire were closed, with day care centres and libraries also hit.
The strikes were made up of workers represented by the Unite and Unison unions.
Union members held a “go slow” from Cannon Hill Park along Pershore Road through the centre of town and on to the Tower ballroom to attend a rally held by Unite and Unison.
A spokeswoman for Traffic Link in Birmingham said there had not been much impact on traffic in the city.
“To be honest, it didn’t seem to have caused any problems, it was all over by about 1pm,” she added.
Unison regional officer Kate McLeod was picketing outside the council’s House of Sport, on Broad Street, Birmingham.
She said: “We don’t take strike action lightly.
“People lose money, people put time aside, people quite often come against conflict when they are out here on the streets, but it’s for a good reason.
“This is about a pay rise that should be better because the employer can afford it.”
The unions were protesting about a 2.45 per cent pay offer that had been rejected. They said that inflation levels and the rising cost of living meant the offer was completely inadequate.
They said more than half a million workers across the country had gone on strike over the pay offer.
Despite claims from many local councils in the West Midlands that services had been largely unaffected, Unison claimed the action was well supported, causing chaos to services ranging from council tax collection to environmental health inspections.
General secretary Dave Prentis said: “This has been a fantastic response from our members. Local government workers have shown their anger and resentment towards this 2.45 per cent below-inflation pay offer. The employers must heed the voice of their own workforce and get back round the negotiating table to settle this dispute.
“These members have not taken this action lightly - they are the lowest paid workers of the public sector, but they are saying enough is enough. For the fourth year running they are offered a take it or leave it pay cut. They are having to make difficult choices about which bills to pay - bread is up 17 per cent, butter up 31 per cent, eggs up 37 per cent, central heating oil up 74 per cent – how far will 2.45 per cent go?
“It’s a disgrace that the employers are still refusing to negotiate and pleading poverty when by their own figures they have £3 billion languishing in bank accounts, some of which could be used to pay our members a decent, living wage.
“If they don’t, local government members will vote with their feet, taking higher paid jobs elsewhere, leaving vital services short of staff.”