Teachers to walk out over pensions

MORE than 2,500 teachers across Doncaster could strike this summer as part of a nationwide programme of industrial action.

The NUT and NASUWT, the country’s two biggest teaching unions, have announced proposals for a series of strikes from June onwards.

An spokesman for the NUT in Doncaster said members were behind the plans.

John Coward, Doncaster branch secretary, said: “Any strike would close all Doncaster’s schools.

“We’ve not set a date yet, but teachers have already been taking action short of a strike, so this is an escalation of that.”

Mr Coward said more than 80 per cent of the town’s teaching staff would be affected.

The action is in protest at pay freezes, increased workload and rising pension contributions.

Ministers have called the action irresponsible and urged heads to dock the pay of any teachers involved.

A spokeswoman from the Department for Education said the strikes would disrupt pupils’ education.

The step-up in the campaign comes after unions said Education Secretary Michael Gove was not prepared to listen to concerns.

The plan includes continuation of the current action short of strike action, national rallies in April and May, escalation of action short of a walkout and a rolling programme of regional strikes starting on Thursday, June 27.

The unions are also planning a rolling programme of strike action continuing into the autumn term, including a one day all-out national strike before the end of the autumn term.

Chris Keates, NASUWT general secretary, said: “The time has come for Mr Gove to listen.

“He still has time to avoid widespread disruption in schools by responding positively and quickly to the reasonable demands we are making.”

Mr Coward said Doncaster teachers’ main concerns were over workloads and pensions and had already taken part in action in relation to those issues.