Teachers' strike closes 2,600 English schools

Oct 18, 2013, 09:11 IST | AFP

More than 2,600 schools were closed in England today by a teachers' strike over their pay and working conditions, the education ministry said

Union leaders proclaimed the walk-out a "great success", saying more than 80 percent of schools in the four targeted regions -- including London -- had been affected in some way.

They are mainly concerned about proposed pension changes and government plans to replace national pay deals with performance-related salaries set by individual schools. "We are very well aware of the disruption this causes to parents' working lives as well as their children's education," said Christine Blower, general secretary of the NUT, which organised the strike with the NASUWT union.

"Unfortunately, with a government that will not negotiate on the issues of our dispute over pay, pensions and workload, we have been left with little choice."' However, the Department for Education said that only 27 per cent of schools in the affected area had been forced to close, some 2,633 out of 9,755 primary and secondary schools.

"The NUT and NASUWT have tried to create as much disruption for pupils and parents today as possible," a spokeswoman said. "In spite of this, thanks to many hard-working teachers and heads, only around a quarter of schools in the targeted regions were closed today." Several regional strikes have been held in the past few months and the two unions also plan a one-day national walk-out before Christmas. 

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