Public sector strikes will go ahead after government talks over pensions collapsed last night.

Talks to avert mass strikes later this week failed yesterday, despite the government appearing to offer a compromise to union leaders.

Hundreds of thousands of public sector workers have voted to walk out for 24 hours on Thursday.

Teachers, lecturers and civil servants make up about 750,000 trade union members who will strike, closing thousands of schools in Wales and England and causing disruption to government services across the UK.

But the government has proposed further talks next month and called on the workers, from four trade unions, not to take industrial action in the meantime.

Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude and Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander said the two-hour meeting in the Cabinet Rooms at Whitehall yesterday had been “constructive”.

In a joint statement, they said: “We believe both sides have a responsibility to see the talks through and we would urge public workers not to strike while they are ongoing.

“Public sector pensions will still be among the very best, with a guaranteed pension which very few private sector staff now enjoy.”

Mark Serwotka, leader of the Public and Commercial Services Union, described the talks as a “farce”, accusing the Government of having no interest in negotiating on plans to cut pensions, extend the retirement age and increase contributions.

David Evans, Wales secretary of the NUT, told the Western Mail: Teachers don’t want this but they have to fight for what they believe in and what is rightfully theirs.”