Lincoln unions support teachers’ strikes

Unions from across Lincolnshire were striking on Thursday over disagreements about pension schemes and retirement ages for teachers.

Earlier this month the National Union of Teachers (NUT) balloted 40% of its members with 92% voting in favour of strike action across the UK.

Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL), University and College Union (UCU) as well as other unions decided to strike on June 30 as well.

Professor Richard Keeble from the University of Lincoln, explained that the protests also help to “maintain the momentum” against the government’s economic plans as well as voicing concern over education plans.

In Lincoln eight schools were closed as protesting teachers did not turn up to work today.

At the start of the day UCU strikers could be seen at the entrance to the university.

By about 11am a group of protestors from several unions started to meet on Rope Walk before moving on to the High Street, where speeches took place at the Speaker’s Corner.

Nick Parker, Assistant Secretary of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), said he expects strike action to happen again later in the year: “I think we are in serious and long-term battle for the very fabric of society, for the welfare state, for public services, pensions and pay.

“This government wants to punish the working people for mistakes of the bankers, and we’re not having it because we didn’t cause the crisis, someone else did.

“It’s the majority of the population, people who are on benefits, people who are working who are paying the price,” Parker added.

After their speeches, the various union members walked up Steep Hill to the Stag’s Head pub where the NUT held a meeting.

Ken Rustidge, Division Secretary for the NUT in Lincolnshire, said that he hopes that the government decide to talk more about the proposals as they are currently “unreasonable”.

He said people did not want a “Dad’s Army” of teachers and that there “is absolutely no need to bring these changes in right now.

“They were changed in 2007 already this is simply the government are actually taking teachers’ money because the pensions are simply deferred salary.”

Rachel Benson, who teaches at St George’s Academy in Sleaford and was on strike today, called the proposals for teachers’ to work until they are 68 a “death sentence” as being able to teach, mark work, hold meetings and other elements of the job in an “outstanding” way until that age would be “ridiculous”.

Benson is hopeful that the government will reconsider though: “I hope that the government come back and start to negotiate.

“I hope the government actually think about the impact of these cuts I think at the moment they are just looking at the figures they want to look as though they are doing something they are not thinking really about what is the best thing to do.

“Hopefully they’ll come to talk to people who actually know what they are on about,” Benson added.

The strike action ended by 4pm.