Teachers walk out in pensions and pay row

SHUT DOWN Many schools are closed today
SHUT DOWN Many schools are closed today
Tributes left outside Fareham Academy.

Picture: Ian Hargreaves (180012-4)

Tributes paid to ‘outstanding’ PE teacher who died suddenly over Christmas

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SCHOOLS across the area are shut today as teachers strike in a row over pay, pensions and workload.

Members of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and teacher’s union NASUWT are walking out in a protest to the government.

Many are angry with education secretary Michael Gove’s decisions, including bringing in performance-related pay.

The strike is being held in the north east, Cumbria, London, south east and south west with thousands of pupils missing out on school for the day.

· How the strike will affect schools

· Government minister: strike is ‘bad for pupils and bad for parents’

Amanda Martin, divisional secretary for the Portsmouth branch of the NUT, said: ‘Strike action is never a step that teachers take lightly and we are very aware and concerned about the inconvenience it causes parents.

‘Unfortunately we are faced with a coalition government that is refusing to listen to the reasonable demands of the profession.

‘Changes to pay, pensions and workload will make teaching a far less attractive profession, which is not in the long-term interests of teachers and children.

‘The education secretary should do as his counterparts in Wales have done and enter into meaningful dialogue with the NUT and NASUWT.

‘No teacher takes strike action lightly, this is a last resort for teachers but the absolute refusal of the government to enter into meaningful talks to resolve the dispute has left teachers with no choice.

‘There needs to be a change in the government’s attitude to teachers and education.’

The unions are still asking the government to enter into talks to resolve the dispute.

A march is due to take place through Commercial Road in Portsmouth at noon today.

Some members are joining up in central London to protest.

Sion Reynolds, secretary of the NASUWT, said: ‘We have decided to take this action because the secretary of state is refusing to meet with us to talk with us about our issues.

‘They include the future of our education system and the policies which he has brought in which we are very concerned about.

‘It will impact upon our children and young people.

‘It’s also about the changes to our pay, pensions and working conditions. The secretary of state isn’t willing to negotiate.

‘We don’t take strike action lightly.

‘It’s something we feel we need to do to protect the world-class education system that we have got.’

The strike action follows on from regional action taken in different parts of the country earlier this year.