A union initiative will give savings from today's 'pension robbery' and anti-cuts strike to grassroots groups fighting poverty in Britain.
The idea came from trade union members in Newcastle and has won the support of the council there. This means that up to £100,000 could now go to hard-pressed community projects tackling poverty, reducing worklessness and improving neighbourhoods in deprived areas.
The Trades Union Congress (TUC) has been urging all public service employers who will benefit from strike savings to follow this example.
TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber commented: "I'm pleased to see that Newcastle City Council plans to use savings from the pay of employees who are on strike on the TUC Day of Action to support vital grassroots community projects."
He continued: "The North East of England has been hit very hard by the government's austerity measures, and it is testament to the renowned compassion and solidarity of the region that this idea has emerged here."
"This pioneering initiative demonstrates empathy and vision from the council's leadership and workforce. Other public services employers up and down the country should now consider following their example and direct savings from next week's strike to help those hit hardest by the government's policies," said Mr Barber.
If the idea is adopted by other local authorities it could raise millions for good causes while industrial action is taking place, says the TUC.
The plan has also won praise from the voluntary and community sector. Chief Executive of the National Association for Voluntary and Community Action (NAVCA) Kevin Curley said: "It would have been very easy for Newcastle City Council to quietly pocket the savings from the strike."
"The fact that they followed the advice of their unions and put that money into local voluntary organisations shows real leadership and a genuine concern for the people who are suffering most from the public spending cuts," said Mr Curley.
He continued: "Voluntary organisations across the country are struggling to maintain their services as their funding gets squeezed. I hope others in the public sector will follow Newcastle's lead and put their savings to good use by supporting voluntary organisations tackling poverty. If they do it will bring much needed resources to the most deprived communities."