Candidate supports public sector workers' union strike

(l-r) Anne Riley locality manager,  Liz Mellish team leader, Eirwen Poole team leader, Kate Davis library assistant and Lucy Yarham team leader.

(l-r) Anne Riley locality manager, Liz Mellish team leader, Eirwen Poole team leader, Kate Davis library assistant and Lucy Yarham team leader.

First published in News Stroud News and Journal: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

PUBLIC sector workers staged a one day strike over an on-going dispute over pay, pensions and workload last Thursday.

Members of the National Union of Teachers joined council and health workers, firefighters and civil servants for the one-day stoppage.

Gastrells Primary School and the Shrubberies School were closed, while Stroud Valley Community Primary School was closed to KS1 pupils and some classes were affected at Bisley Blue Coat Primary School.

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 manager at Stroud library, three library team leaders and a library assistant took part and held Unison banners outside.

Anne Riley, locality manager at Stroud library, said: “Over the last few years since 2010 the Government has made 20 per cent cuts to our pay and we are behind in keeping up with the cost of living.

“One pound an hour increase is all we are asking for, we are not asking for the 14 per cent increases that heads of banks are getting.

“Our request hardly seems a huge amount to us but it would make such a big difference.”

Dave Prentis, general secretary of Unison, whose members took part in the action, said workers were now £4,000 a year worse off than they were in 2010.

Stroud MP Neil Carmichael hit out at the stoppage saying: “I do not believe the interests of teachers, or children, are advanced by industrial action.

“Strikes damage pupils’ education, cause unnecessary disruption to parents and undermine the public respect which teachers deserve.

“Teaching unions asked for talks and the Government agreed to this request and I understand that talks are ongoing.

“The decision to restrain pay in the public sector has been difficult but essential to help restore order to the public finances. Pay restraint has saved £12 billion across this parliament and without it, many more jobs would have been lost.”

Labour members of Gloucestershire County Council gave it their backing.

Councillor Steve Lydon and Councillor Tracy Millard attended a rally outside Shire Hall with Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Stroud, David Drew.

Cllr Lydon, Labour’s shadow finance spokesman at Shire Hall, said: “Our council workers are essential, they look after the elderly, the vulnerable and they keep our schools, libraries and roads running.”

Mr Drew said: “I am proud to support Gloucestershire’s local government workers. They are not asking for an unreasonable rise in pay. They are campaigning for just an extra £1 per hour to help 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.”

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