A fresh wave of industrial action by public sector workers is set to hit the Government todayafter a two-day strike in what union leaders hailed as the biggest industrial shutdown since the winter of discontent.
The second day of widespread disruption by local government workers yesterday led to schools, libraries, refuse collection and other council services being closed.
About 400 schools were forced to shut across the West Midlands, according to the union Unison, as teaching assistants, catering staff, cleaners and caretakers failed to turn up - a similar number to Wednesday.
Bins were left unemptied and libraries and neighbourhood offices were also among centres unable to open.
However the disruption in Birmingham was minimal, according to the city council.
A total of 18 schools out of more than 400 closed, one less than the first day. Five libraries were closed and three neighbourhood offices did not open.
Refuse collections were completely cancelled in Walsall, Staffordshire, Telford and Coventry and only one collection service operated in Dudley, according to Unison.
Tony Rabaiotti, regional head of local government for the union said: "The number of people who were out was about the same as yesterday. There were about 9,000 people on strike in Birmingham."
About 40 schools closed in Wolverhampton, 24 in Walsall were affected, 12 in Coventry were closed and 20 in Staffordshire, nine in Worcestershire and a similar number in Shropshire and Herefordshire.
Mr Rabaiotti claimed the 48-hour strike, in protest against a 2.45 per cent pay offer which has been rejected by the union, had been a success and warned of possible further industrial action.
"It is the biggest industrial action since the so-called winter of discontent in 1979. There may well be further action. Our national people are meeting to discuss that.
"As we speak there are no further plans but all our figures will be collated from across the country and discussions will take place next week."
Valerie Broom, West Midlands regional secretary, added: "'There has been such a positive response to this dispute, I am proud that our members have displayed such strength and good character."
Meanwhile, the Government faces fresh strikes and protests today from civil servants and public sector workers over pay.
Workers in the Home Office, including immigration officers, will stage a one-day strike while staff in the Land Registry will walkout for two hours, also over pay.
Coastguards will launch a 48-hour strike from 7pm today, the latest in a series of walkouts in protest at a below inflation pay rise.
The Public and Commercial Services union has launched a week of action by tens of thousands of civil servants in a backlash against the Government's public sector wage policy.
The union warned that today's action will lead to delays at immigration controls and the cancellation of asylum interviews, while the coastguards' stoppage could close around half of the UK's 19 coastguard rescue control centres.
NHS workers will also stage a series of protests across the country against a "derisory" three-year pay offer worth about eight per cent, which could lead to industrial action...SUPL: