Thousands of pupils will remain at home today as more than 300 schools across the Midlands close in a massive public sector walkout over pensions.
Dozens of libraries, nurseries, day centres and job centres will also shut, rubbish remain uncollected and school crossings unmanned during the day of strike action.
Up to 80,000 local government workers in the West Midlands are expected to remain at home or attend picket lines.
Emergency cover similar to Christmas Day provision will be provided for key council services in what unions claim to be the biggest walk-out since the 1926 General Strike.
In Walsall - one of the worst affected authorities - nearly three-quarters of its 109 schools will not open and its market will also close.
Public sector workers are angry over the Government's proposed changes to their pension schemes.
The move would end the so-called 85-year rule, under which council staff can retire at 60 if their age and length of service added up to 85 years. Union officials estimate 1.4 million local government workers nationwide will participate in the industrial action. So far 312 schools in the region have been confirmed as closed.
But council officials warn many more may be forced to shut as the full extent of the strike becomes apparent on the day.
About 240 workplaces in Birmingham alone are expected to be affected by the action, including 60 schools that will be closed.
Councillor Alan Rudge, Birmingham's cabinet member for equalities and human resources at Birmingham, said: "In a situation like this, the city council has to look after the interests of the people of Birmingham. The most important priority is to ensure that no one is harmed because of this strike action.
"I have had HR teams throughout the city engage with the relevant union representatives to minimise the effect on vulnerable people and life and limb services."
Coun Rudge (Con Sutton Vesey) said the council had negotiated an exemption with the unions to ensure the strike would not harm front-line social services or residential homes.
Walsall's deputy head of human resources Reuben Bergman said: "It is inevitable that there will be some disruption on the day and we would ask customer and services users to bear with us in relation to any inconvenience experienced."