Striking Bexley teachers claim they have backing from pupils
PUBLISHED: 16:45 30 June 2011 | UPDATED: 17:00 30 June 2011
Striking Bexley teachers who marched through central London today said their pupils wanted to come out and protest with them.
In Bexley 12 schools closed today and a further 27 were affected by the walkout over government plans to abolish the final salary pension scheme and replace it with a “career average pay” scheme.
Teachers, pensioners, court workers, set off from Lincoln Inn Fields in Holborn at approximately 11.30 this morning to march to Westminster.
One of those marching was Rhean Jenkins, 27, from Orpington, who teaches citizenship, RE and sociology at Bexleyheath School in Woolwich Road, Bexleyheath. She said: “Lots of my kids wanted to come and protest with us. I have been a teacher for three years. 50 per cent of what I pay in I will never see. I pay £120 a month it is going to go up to over £200.”
More than 11,000 schools in England have been hit by today’s walkout by teachers, according to government figures.
If proposals are implemented, teachers will have to pay more into their pension from April next year and any aged 34 or younger will have to work until they are 68.
Miss Butler, 24, a teacher at Townley Grammar School in Townley Road, Bexley, said: “I’m a newly qualified teacher and the thought of having to work until I’m 68 is ridiculous and paying more for it each year. It’s a really difficult job to be doing that at 68. Pupils have been really supportive, they were making up slogans for us to chant.”
Joining the teachers was Chair of Bexley Pensioners Forum, Terry Murphy, 70, from Bexleyheath. He said: “I am here to give my support. I am fighting with them because pensions have got to be saved unless you keep your company pension you won’t survive.
“I feel sorry for young people because they are going to be the ones who suffer.”