Strikes could see city-wide schools closures

Lily Byng, 12 and Jack Traylen from KIDS Fareham & Gosport Young Carers during a session. Picture by Henry Cort Community College

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EVERY school and college in Portsmouth could close on a day of industrial strike action.

Amanda Martin, local branch secretary for the NUT, which represents 1,000 teachers from primary schools to sixth form colleges, said teachers being made to work longer for less pay and for massively reduced pensions was not acceptable.

Negotiations between the government and union chiefs have been under way since February, but unhappy chiefs of the NUT and ATL unions have ballotted their members for strike action on June 30 – with the possibility of more strikes later on – if the government does not change its stance.

Mrs Martin said: ‘No-one takes strikes lightly but the government’s proposals for teachers to work until they are 68, to increase their pension contributions by 50 per cent, and to take away the final pension salary scheme will leave teachers much worse off. I work in the primary sector and if I live 25 years beyond retirement I’ll be looking at a £169,000 pension pay cut. It is incredibly unfair.

‘All these proposals will do is put people off from going into the profession, make it harder for young teachers to find jobs, and encourage teachers who are too old for the demands of the jobs to stay put or risk losing their full pension.’

The ballot closes on June 14.