A strike by hundreds of thousands of teachers, lecturers, civil servants and other public sector workers is set to go ahead on Thursday after negotiations failed.

Union leaders were unable to reach an agreement with the Government in a row over pensions and spending cuts.

Up to 750,000 workers will walk out for 24 hours, closing thousands of schools and colleges in England and Wales and disrupting Government departments, courts, driving tests and job centres.

The unions had called for a "serious response" from ministers but one leader said the discussions were a "farce".

See the full list of which unions are striking and when

Officials from the TUC and several trade unions met Cabinet Minister Francis Maude and Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander - but the talks failed.

Further negotiations between the two sides are expected to take place in the coming weeks.

The ministers insisted the talks at the Cabinet Office in London had been "constructive".
The walkout is set to hit thousands of schools

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."

But Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union general secretary Mark Serwotka said: "It was disappointing that the meeting proved to be no different to any of the others - it was a farce."

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said some progress had been made on some of the issues.

He stressed there was still a "major gap" between the two sides on plans to increase the pension age, raise contributions and change the way pensions are determined from RPI to CPI inflation.

© unknownDave Prentis predicts that the autumn walkouts could be the biggest since 1926
And Thursday's walkout by the National Union of Teachers (NUT), the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL), the University and College Union (UCU) and the PCS union may not be the end of it.

Unison leader Dave Prentis has already warned that his union will ballot more than a million workers for industrial action if the dispute is not resolved.

He has predicted that walkouts in the autumn could be the biggest since the 1926 General Strike.

© unknownDanny Alexander sparked anger from unions with his speech earlier this month
Mr Alexander sparked anger earlier this month when he made it clear the Government would press ahead with plans for public sector workers to pay more into pensions and work longer.

The Government has based its proposals on a report earlier this year by former Labour minister Lord Hutton, which recommended increased payments, a switch from final salary schemes to those based on career-average earnings, and rises in the pension age.

But in a speech last week, Lord Hutton warned that people could be forced out of pension schemes if Government reforms were too punitive.