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Potential strike action at schools
7:00am Saturday 28th September 2013 in Somerset
PARENTS are unsure if schoolchildren will get a day off next month when scores of teachers in the Chard and Ilminster area go on strike.
Individual head teachers and governors will decide whether to stay open on Thursday, October 17, when NASUWT and NUT members across the South-West walk out in a row with the Government over working conditions.
With 85% of staff in the two unions, widespread closures are inevitable with hundreds of parents forced to make other arrangements.
Education chiefs say they will help schools “make every effort to stay open”, but further disruption is likely with a one-day national strike threatened before Christmas.
Robin Head, NUT divisional secretary in Somerset, blasted Education Secretary Michael Gove’s “attack after attack” on teachers.
“Teachers’ conditions are far worse – their workload has increased, but they’re getting told by the Government they’re not good enough,” said Mr Head.
“Teachers work extremely hard, yet all they get is attack after attack.
“With the austerity measures teachers are getting reduced pay, they’re paying more for smaller pensions and there’s a reduced opportunity to progress as quickly as before.
“The Government’s measures make the profession look less attractive and some good teachers are being lost.”
Mr Head criticised Government policies of allowing schools to implement their own systems of pay and basing salaries on performance, which he says is unfairly measured by exam results.
Mr Head and NASUWT general secretary Chris Keates said a national strike would proceed unless Mr Gove held talks with the unions.
Mr Keates said: “The attacks on teachers are relentless. The reward for their hard work, dedication and commitment has been a vicious assault on their pay, conditions and professionalism.
“Teachers will be angered by the recklessness of the Secretary of State’s continuing failure to take seriously their concerns and engage in genuine discussions to address them.”
A Somerset County Council spokesman said: “We’ll provide advice to schools in the authority sotheycan plan for industrialaction by NASUWT and NUTmembers, andmake every effort to stay open where possible.
“Decisions on remaining open or closing will be taken by head teachers in consultation with their governing bodies, based on their own individual circumstances.”