UPDATE: Labour councillors back teachers strike over pay affecting schools throughout Stroud
SEVERAL schools in the district will be affected by tomorrow's strike by teachers and Labour Councillors are backing the movement.
The action is part of an on-going protest by public sector workers over pay, pensions and workload.
Members of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) are due to join council and health workers, firefighters and civil servants as part of the one-day stoppage.
Schools affected as the SNJ went to press were as follows: Archway School will be open as normal to all students but there may be some disruption to the timetable.
Bisley Blue Coat Primary School – Y3/4 classes Drake, Darwin and Cousteau are closed. All other pupils should attend as normal.
Gastrells Primary School will be shut.
Stroud Valley Community Primary School will be closed to KS1 pupils only.
The Shrubberies School will be closed.
More than a million people are expected to take part in what is billed as the biggest single walkout over pay since the coalition came to power.
In a statement, the NUT said: “This government is more aggressive towards teachers than any we have known. Teachers are under attack with regard to workload, pensions, pay, conditions and job security. Our professional status is being denigrated and undermined.
“The government’s attacks include pay, dismantling the national pay structure, extending performance related pay, and extending pay restraint, pensions, imposing unfair contribution increases and changes to pension ages, workload pressures, damaging teachers’ health and threatening educational standards, conditions, attacking our terms and conditions, by pursuing academisation of schools, and inspections, creating workload and stress through punitive and frequent inspections.”
Labour Councillors at Gloucestershire County Council are also speaking out in solidarity with the local council and school support workers who are taking strike action this week.
Council workers and school support staff, who have had they pay frozen for the last three years, are taking strike action after a 1% pay increase was rejected by unions members.
Councillors Steve Lydon and Tracy Millard will attend a rally outside Shire Hall today along with Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for Stroud, David Drew.
Speaking in solidarity with Local Government workers, Labour’s shadow finance spokesperson at Shire Hall, Steve Lydon, said: “Our council workers are essential, they look after the elderly, the vulnerable and they keep our schools, libraries and roads running. Labour Councillors at the County Council are very concerned that council workers and school support staff, who have not had a pay increase for the last three years, are now struggling to make ends meet and pay their household bills.
“This is just unfair and the situation cannot be allowed to continue. Labour Councillors understand the financial challenges low paid council workers face and we have taken action by ensuring that the County Council introduces Living Wage that will be implemented from September.”
Councillor Tracy Millard added: “Losing pay for strike action is not something council workers do lightly. Employers need to enter into negotiations and reach a fair deal. Many council workers are low paid, part time women workers with families. They are struggling.
“As a Labour Councillor I am proud that the Labour Group have been successful with its campaign to introduce the Living Wage at the County Council. This is a big step forward, but it won’t fix the problem over night. There have been over 2000 staff cuts at Shire Hall and council workers are being asked to more and more. The propose 1% pay increase is not good enough and that is way we are here today to help council workers get a fairer pay deal.”
Attending the rally on the steps of Shire Hall, David Drew, Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for Stroud said: “ I am proud to be here today supporting Gloucestershire’s Local Government workers. They are not asking for an unreasonable pay raise. They are campaigned for just an extra £1 per hour to them through the cost of living crisis. Their campaign makes financial sense. A pay increase of £1 per hour would pay for itself in more tax and national insurance for the Government and less money spent on in-work benefits. Employers and the Government now need to listen and enter meaningful negotiations.”