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Strike action may force Rugby schools to close

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Some schools in Rugby may close on Thursday July 10 as teachers protest against “disastrous” changes to the education system.

The National Union of Teachers is taking strike action against policies it regards as harmful to children and staff.

General secretary Christine Blower said: “Many parents and the general public share our concerns on issues as wide-ranging as ‘unqualified teachers’ in classrooms and the excessive testing of primary school children.

“Teacher morale is at a low ebb with many working in excess of 60 hours a week for uncertain pay and worsening pensions and conditions. It is hardly surprising that two in five leave the profession within their first five years, while many other good, experienced teachers are also deciding to go. This is unsustainable.”

The Government insists it is essential to reform the education system in order to compete with those in other countries.

The county council has set up a text message service to notify parents if a particular school closes. To sign up, text SCHCLOSURES, followed by the schools’s registered DfE number and On to 07950 081082 - for example, SCHCLOSURES 0000 On.

To find out the DfE number for a school, either speak to the school or visit www.warwickshire.gov.uk/schoolclosures.

Subscription to the service continues until the end of the academic year so parents and carers will always be kept informed of closures. Subscriptions to the service do expire at the end of the summer term, so users will need to sign up at the start of September each year to continue receiving updates.

Parents can also visit www.warwickshire.gov.uk/schoolclosures and follow the county council’s dedicated Twitter account:

twitter.com/wccschoolclosed .

Next Thursday’s strike will also involve other public service unions representing council workers and firefighters. Warwickshire County Council has put plans in place to maintain service levels for those most in need, but minor local disruption may be experienced.

People are advised to check www.warwickshire.gov.uk/strikes for the latest information.

Members of the Rugby Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition have explained why they will be supporting the strike by teachers and local government workers. Rugby TUSC spokesman Pete McLaren, who will be standing for the party in next year’s general election, said: “Those who provide public services and teach our children do not take strike action lightly, but they are fed up with constant job insecurity, pay cuts, attacks on pensions and longer working hours. They also have pride in the services they provide.

“The GMB union, which represents many school meal staff, cleaners and care assistants, is furious pay has only risen by one per cent since 2010, and even the miserly national minimum wage will overtake local authority pay scales by October. Unite, which represents 70,000 council workers, including those in refuse collection, school support and street

cleaning, voted by 68 per cent to strike because of poverty pay. Unison, which represents many public sector workers including town hall staff, nurses and ancillary staff is also concerned about pay cuts resulting in members increasingly needing to use food banks. There have also been cuts to sick pay, redundancy pay and annual leave.

“Last year, household disposable income for the richest fifth of households increased, but fell for everyone else. The gap between rich and poor is growing again. The richest fifth of households now earn £30,000 a year more than the average household. More working households were living in poverty in the UK last year than non-working ones for the first time. Low pay is now a serious problem in Britain. The UK has become one of the most unequal countries in the world,

“The UK’s wealthiest people are richer than they have ever been: as local government workers have seen their pay fall, the richest 1,000 have enjoyed an increase of 15 per cent.”

The Government maintains is programme of cuts is necessary to balance public finances.

 

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