Photos That Make the Rude Pundit Want to Toast with a Pint of Thornbridge Ale and Then Drink Until He Pukes

That up there happened yesterday in London. Similar marches occurred all over Great Britain. It's a strike and protest from anywhere between 500,000 and a million workers (depending on who's counting) in unions for teachers, firefighters, and other civil servants in response to the government's offer of a contract that gave them a 1% raise after wages were frozen in 2010. As huge trade union Unison put it, "The current government offer leaves most workers with pay worth almost 20% less than in 2010. Falling pay also means loss of pension for the rest of your life."

Unison explains its position: "Our members are not asking for the 14% pay increase company bosses and bankers are getting. Or the 11% MPs will see. They are just asking for a rise of at least £1 an hour." They were joined by "workers who serve school meals, clean streets, empty bins, carers and school support workers." The firefighters are striking to allow for retirement at 55, as their union in Ireland recently negotiated, instead of the current 60, citing the demands of the job that are too intense for someone in their late 50s. The National Union of Teachers is joining in because of unmet demands over workload, pay (including performance-related pay, as in the United States), and vacation. The head of the unfortunately-acronymed NUT said that she regretted the loss of the teaching day in a thousand or so schools around the U.K., but that it was necessary to get the government to give a damn.

How impressive was the turnout? What kind of impact did it have? Well, here's the front of the BBC's UK coverage right now, less than 24 hours after the action:

Ah, we're not so different on both sides of the pond, are we, when it comes to workers' rights.