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30 June 2011, 10:21
Tens of thousands of workers in the North East have downed tools to join the biggest national strike in five years.
Nearly 700 schools are closed in our region as Teachers join other public sector workers in the 24 hour walkout.
Job centres, driving test centres and courts in the North East are also closed.
Kevin Rowland, the General Secretary of the TUC in the North East, told Capital, "if the Government don't respond and they continue to treat public sector workers unfairly then i think it's inevitable we'll see more action."
Striking workers are joining picket lines up and down the North East as well as large marches planned for Newcastle City Centre and Middlesbrough.
Nationally, The NUT has estimated 85% of schools could be affected, which equates to around 17,000 state schools, collectively educating millions of pupils.
The Government has said "rigorous'' contingency plans are in place to ensure essential services are maintained during the strike.
But the National Association of Head Teachers has expressed "grave concerns'' about a call by Education Secretary Michael Gove that parents could volunteer to cover for striking teachers.
General Secretary Russell Hobby said: "It is probably not unlawful but we would strongly advise our members not to accept voluntary help to cover for absent staff this Thursday.''