Thousands of local government employees in Northern Ireland are going on strike today in a dispute over pay and pensions.

The industrial action involves local council staff and workers in a range of public bodies.

Up to 20,000 workers from district councils across the North, the Housing Executive, libraries and traffic wardens are staging a one-day strike.

They voted to reject a 1% pay offer and pension reforms they claim will leave them worse off financially.

The industrial action involves six separate trade unions including SIPTU, UNISON and UNITE, and takes place alongside strikes by equivalent unions in England and Wales.

It is the first major public sector strike in Northern Ireland in several years.

Unions say they will take further industrial action in the autumn if employers do not engage in serious and realistic negotiations on pay and conditions.