BRITISH ARMY TO STRIKE! In an unprecedented move, Brigadier General Sir Charles "Fothers" Fotherington today announced that the 2nd Battalion of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME) would begin a series of eight day strikes in protest over pay, the right to union membership and "the possession of substantially bigger guns than those big fat sailors in the Navy." They claim that in the fifty years since the regiment was set up, their job as become increasingly technical and that pay has not kept pace with other similar public services like teaching, nursing and policing. "The impact of terrorism over the last thirty years has made modern warfare a great deal more complicated and we often are not even sure who to shoot at these days. Of course that never really stopped us in the old days as long as they were black or Catholic. But in these modern, namby-pamby 'ask questions first, shoot later' days, if you happen to shoot the wrong person, you're likely to end up in prison. Or at least an anonymous witness with immunity from prosecution in a public enquiry. It's just not worth the money any more," said Sir Charles. He added "The machinery we have to maintain has become a lot more complex, too. And the complaints you get just because some poxy rifle won't fire when someone's stuck out in the desert. Don't these people know how fiddly it can be to service these things?" The soldiers have also worked out that they have suffered substantial loss of earnings from the removal of "rape and pillage rights" in modern warfare. "In the 19th Century we have worked out that a soldier's basic pay, allowing for inflation, was approximately £70,000 with a substantial overseas allowance gained from the violent removal of the majority of a country's assets by the invading force. Nowadays, we're lucky to get the minimum bloody wage." Twenty four year old Private Derek Gadd has been with REME since he was sixteen and earns less than the minimum wage. Since joining he has received extensive training in the maintenance of heavy artillery and is the regiment's electric toothbrush specialist. He claims, "I do think we deserve more money, as we do a very dangerous job, we protect the nations' security and if we do stage a demo, the public aren't going to disagree with a bunch of highly-trained sociopaths at the controls of 40 ton tanks are they?" When asked if he thought the taxpayer was being held to ransom by their demands, Sir Charles who had been playfully toying with a large bayonet, stepped in hastily answering "All I will say is that we present no threat to the general public. However, if they value their own lives, then they should value the people who protect them and won't begrudge us a pay rise. If you get my meaning." However, help may be at hand from other public services. Cllr Dr Hugo Z Hackenbush, leader of Hartlepool Borough Council, has announced that his entire workforce of contracted-out bin operatives are ready to take over if an emergency arises during the strikes. "Their employers, Rubbish-B-Gone, are keen to move into new markets and have happily offered up the lives of their employees in the interests of the defence of their Mother country," Hackenbush told us eagerly, attempting to fashion a makeshift handgrenade out of a bin-liner and a coke can. "Our lorries are often made by the same companies that make military vehicles and equipment, so how different can it be?"