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Schools out as teachers strike

PUBLISHED: 10:28 28 March 2012 | UPDATED: 12:56 29 March 2012

Maria Vasquez Aguilera (fourth from the left) joins the picket line at Greenwich Community College

Maria Vasquez Aguilera (fourth from the left) joins the picket line at Greenwich Community College

Archant

»Schools, universities and colleges across Bexley and Greenwich faced disruption yesterday after a day of industrial action by teachers and lecturers.

The National Union of Teachers, along with the University and College Union, staged a walkout to protest against the government’s changes to pensions.

Stuggle

In Bexley, five schools were completely closed – primary schools Barrington and St John Fisher, East Wickham Junior School, Cleeve Park Secondary School and special educational needs school Oakwood – and 17 schools were partially shut.

About 20 staff at Greenwich Community College, in Plumstead, took to the picket line at 8am before heading in to central London to join up with the main protest.

UCU Greenwich branch secretary Maria Vasquez Aguilera joined them. She said: “We see this action as part of a wider struggle to coalition cuts.”

The strikes were timed to coincide with other public sector industrial action over pensions, including NHS union unite, who could cause disruption in hospitals across Bexley through summer strikes.

NUT general secretary Christine Blower said: “No teacher wants to be in this position. Pension increases are just an extra tax on teachers and it is the government’s total disregard of the facts that has forced teacher’s to continue with this action.”

Concessions

The most recent teacher strike, on November 30 last year, saw more unions involved before the government made concessions which appeased some but not all. Of Bexley’s 76 schools, 40 closed completed, 21 partially and only 15 opened.

The Department for Education is certain the government’s pension deal is as generous as possible.

Schools minister Nick Gibb said: “Strikes benefit no-one. This strike, ordered by the NUT’s leaders, will not get its members any further forward.”

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