Teachers’ strikes close local schools

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LESSONS at schools across Ilkeston will be disrupted when teachers take part in national strike action over pensions today.

Hundreds of teachers will be involved in industrial action leaving some schools closed and many with reduced lessons and pupil numbers.

It is expected that 750,000 public sector workers across the country, including teachers and job centre staff will walk out because of a row with central government over pensions which they say will see them working for longer and paying more into a pension but coming out with less.

Field House Infants and Cotmanhay Infants will be completely closed.

Denise Wells, headteacher at FieldHouse, said: “We have a number of our teaching staff involved in strike action which meant that from a health and safety point of view we wouldn’t have enough staff to open the school.

“We’re lucky because we have the Cabin on site which means parents that are struggling can make arrangements for their children to go there.”

The majority of the area’s schools will be open but lessons will be affected at most of them, with some schools having to deal with up to 20 teachers taking industrial action.

Only nine schools have no staff joining the strike.

John Holmes, NUT County Secretary and National Executive member, told the Advertiser that teachers had not taken the decision to strike lightly.

He explained: “It is well worth noting that the Teachers’ Pension Scheme has been largely in profit since the new scheme was established in 1972.

“Union members are angry that no credit is given for those years and that the Government is imposing un-negotiated changes without any reference to the scheme’s current, affordable position.

“If it can be shown that there is a genuine need for extra contributions, teachers will be prepared to pay a fair, agreed increase. What is being imposed is an increase in tax to offset the deficits caused by mismanagement and waste by central government.”

A spokeman for the Department of Work and Pensions could not confirm if any staff at the Ilkeston Job Centre were taking part in strike action but said that the South Street centre will be open and operating as normal.