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Teachers to go on strike over pensions, pay and workload
A TEACHING union boss has said he hoped strikes planned for Southampton next month would make the government listen to their concerns.
The two main teaching unions have announced that their members in eight areas of England will strike in October with thousands of pupils in hundreds of schools likely to be affected.
The walk outs by the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and the NASUWT are over a long-running row over pay, pensions and workload.
NUT secretary for Southampton Pete Sopowski said it was the issue of pensions that had most angered teachers.
I hope people will support this action and send a message to the government about how strong the feeling is.
“We are being told we have to work until 68 - so longer for less pension.
“Meanwhile we are being asked to contribute an extra three per cent to the pension and only get a one per cent pay rise which is effectively a pay cut.”
In response to criticism that private sector workers have had to take their share of the economic squeeze through reduced pension benefits Mr Sopowski said: “When pension firms gamble with the stock market there are risks involved and you can win or lose. In this case this is the government defaulting on its promise. We don't expect their promises to be broken.”
He added that the issue of performance related pay was an extension of the system already in place where teachers are given pay rises based on performance reviews. He said: “As long as unions stay strong in each centre then there should not be the issue of division that we believe these reforms are aimed at creating.”
Education Secretary Michael Gove has condemned the action and wrote to both unions in March to say he was willing to meet them to discuss their dispute, but also insisted that the ''direction of travel'' on both their key issues was ''fixed''.
Members in Southampton and the rest of the south east region are due to walk out on October 17 along with colleagues in the North East, London, the South East and the South West will strike on October 17.
NUT and NASUWT members in the East Midlands, West Midlands, Yorkshire and Humberside and the Eastern region will take part in a walkout on October 1.
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