North East Teachers Go On Strike
17 October 2013, 07:37
More than 500 schools are closed or partially closed today as teachers across the North East go on strike.
The industrial action has been organised by the NASUWT and the National Union of Teachers.
NASUWT general secretary Chris Keates said that the "overwhelming majority" of teachers in each of these areas would be on strike.
"No teacher has any wish to inconvenience parents or disrupt pupils' education, but this action is not the failure or due to the unreasonableness of teachers.
It is the failure and unreasonableness of the Secretary of State (Michael Gove), who day-in, day-out is disrupting the education of children and young people through his attacks on the teaching profession."
The Government condemned the move, saying it was "disappointed" the unions had decided to strike.
A Department for Education spokeswoman said:
"All strikes will do is disrupt parents' lives, hold back children's education and damage the reputation of the profession."
A mum of two from Newcastle whose children are off school because of the strike's told Capital she thinks parents should be compensated.
"You're told you can't take your children out during school time, you might get fined. So are parents within their right to charge the school for childcare on the day teachers are striking?"
The unions are opposed to Government plans to allow schools to set teachers' salaries, linked to performance in the classroom, and argue that pension changes will leave their members working longer, paying in more and receiving less when they retire.
They also accuse the Government of attacking their working conditions, including introducing reforms that will allow schools to have longer school days and longer terms.
The first regional walkout took place in the North West on June 27th, and further strikes took place in East of England, the East Midlands, West Midlands, Yorkshire and Humberside on October 1st.
Plans for a national one-day walkout before Christmas have also been announced by the two unions.