A mass public sector workers strike is hitting Britain, with hundreds of schools and public services closed on Thursday.
Teachers, librarians, council staff, firefighters and civil servants are taking part in the action in a series of disputes with the government over pay.
Workers from several different unions were marching on streets in several major cities. In London, despite the rain, public sector workers gathered in Trafalgar Square to get the message across on their reasons for taking part in industrial action.
British media said that East Midlands has about 240 partially or fully closed schools.
In Leicester, the strike has led to the closure of adult social care centers, galleries, museums and leisure centers across the city as well as many council offices.
It was estimated that as many as 2 million public sector workers would be out on strike. But the government said the workers walking out were not so many.
The Cabinet Office said only a fifth of civil servants, fewer than 90,000, are on strike.
Cabinet Office spokesman said the number of strikers was smaller compared with the strike in March 2013: "All 717 jobcentres opened this morning, the majority of schools in England and Wales are open, fire services are operating across the country and nationally, disruption to local government services is minimal."
The Local Government Association said that across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, around 95 percent of council staff were at work Thursday, with contingency plans in place to ensure there was "as little disruption as possible".
Heathrow airport had warned passengers they might experience delays going through immigration due to strike action by some of its Border Force employees which were members of the PCS union, but was not advising travelers to change their plans.
Frances O'Grady, General Secretary of the Trades Union Congress (TUC), said: "Across the public sector workers are on strike today to say enough is enough. Year after year pay has failed to keep up with the cost of living. Public sector workers are on average more than 2,000 pounds (3,424 U.S. dollars) worse off under this government."
TUC is a major federation of trade unions in Britain with over 6 million members.
Sharon Graham, a teaching assistant from Northumberland told British media that he had to take on an extra two part-time jobs to make ends meet.
Teachers' leader Christine Blower said: "I feel like we are so underpaid. We all like our jobs, but we don't think we are appreciated."
British Prime Minister David Cameron condemned the strike through his Twitter account. He said the "public sector strikes are wrong. Labour should be clear and condemn them: no ifs, no buts."
The Cabinet Office issued a statement this morning saying the action would "achieve nothing".
While hundreds of schools were closing their doors for the day, a spokeswoman from Department for Education said: "There is no justification for further strikes. The unions asked for talks, we agreed to their request and talks are ongoing."