Portsmouth ‘teaching strikes have an impact across workplace’

Teachers strike and march through Portsmouth city centre earlier this year
Teachers strike and march through Portsmouth city centre earlier this year
From left, Rosie Rixon, Richard Rixon, Jack Rixon and Gary Lamsdale from Hayling Island, all members of Solent Overlord Executive, with Richard's 1941 GMC CCKW swb truck Picture: Duncan Shepherd (180082-004)

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TEACHERS taking industrial action will cause huge problems for parents seeking childcare, a local employment expert has said.

Tomorrow, members of the NUT will join members of the GMB, PCS, Unison, RMT and Unite unions and the Fire Brigades Union and walk out in a growing row with the government over pay, pensions and workload.

It is the biggest public sector strike for several years and includes council staff, civil servants and firefighters among others.

Many schools across the area will be closed or partially closed, forcing parents to either take a day off work or try to find alternative childcare for their children.

Tim Forer is a barrister in the employment team at Blake Morgan.

He said: ‘You find with lots of parents, both of them are working so if the school is closed then one of the parents has to take time off work to deal with childcare.

‘That has an impact. They can take it as paid leave if they have got it, or more likely, it’s going to be unpaid leave, depending on the attitude of the company.

‘Companies can’t afford to give everyone a day’s leave and pay for it.’

Mr Forer said he struggles to sympathise with the teachers’ plight.

‘I think that they are relatively well paid,’ he said.

‘What’s interesting is it’s a small number of teachers who voted and who will come out.

‘The people who pay their wages, some of them haven’t had a pay rise in years.’

As well as teachers, unions representing support staff in schools including teaching assistants, caretakers, nursery nurses and dinner ladies, have also called walkouts.

And public sector staff such as bin men, street cleaners, ground maintenance staff, librarians and council officers will also take industrial action across the Portsmouth area.

Workers at Portsmouth International Port will also be taking part in the action.

A spokeswoman for the port said: ‘The port continues to work alongside all our partners to ensure that as a result of industrial action called for on Thursday, any disruption to the travelling members of the public is kept to a minimum with all scheduled ferry arrival/departure times continuing to run as scheduled.’

Jon Woods, of the Portsmouth Trades Council, who is organising the protests and picketing tomorrow, said: ‘In local government our issue is the one-per-cent pay rise where we have had year after year of below-inflation-rate pay rises.

‘We have been offered one per cent again this year and apparently we have got four years of this. That’s the big issue for us.

‘Civil servants will be out again – there’s a whole range of issues. The workload is horrendous because of where all the cuts have hit before, so people are angry about huge workloads, pressures and stress.’

Members of the unions will meet in Guildhall Square tomorrow morning and a protest march through 
to Commercial Road, will begin at 12.30pm.

List of schools


- Charles Dickens Primary School, Landport

- Craneswater Junior School, Southsea

- Fareham Academy

- Fernhurst Junior School, Southsea

- Isambard Brunel Junior School, North End

- King Richard School, Paulsgrove

- St John’s C of E Primary School, Gosport

- St Jude’s C of E Primary School, Old Portsmouth

- St Peter’s Catholic Primary School, Waterlooville

- Woodcroft Primary School, Lovedean


- Copnor Infant School

- Corpus Christi Catholic Primary School, North End

- City of Portsmouth Boys School

- Devonshire Infant School, Southsea

- Goldsmith Infant School, Southsea

- Hart Plain Junior School, Cowplain

- Langstone Junior School, Milton

- Milton Park Primary School, Milton

- Miltoncross School

- Moorings Way Infant School, Milton

- Newbridge Junior School, North End

- Northern Parade Junior School, Hilsea

- Penhale Infant School, Fratton

- Priory School, Southsea

- Redwood Park School, Cosham

- Solent Junior School, Farlington

- Springfield School, Farlington

- St Edmund’s Catholic School, Landport

- St John’s Catholic Primary School, Landport

- St Paul’s Catholic Primary School, Paulsgrove

- St Swithun’s Catholic Primary School, Southsea

- Stamshaw Infant School

- Westover Primary School, Copnor

- Wimborne Infant School, Southsea