Withycombe teachers join strikes

PUBLISHED: 17:40 25 April 2008 | UPDATED: 09:01 10 June 2010

WITHYCOMBE Raleigh Primary School teachers were among hundreds of angry teachers who on Thursday went on strike over unfair pay increases. Paul Carter, Year 2 teacher at Withycombe, said: We felt if we had stayed quiet it would have been wrong. The cost

WITHYCOMBE Raleigh Primary School teachers were among hundreds of angry teachers who on Thursday went on strike over unfair pay increases.

Paul Carter, Year 2 teacher at Withycombe, said: "We felt if we had stayed quiet it would have been wrong. The cost of living is going up and up, I have a wife and two kids and I am now really feeling the difference."

Fiona Crocombe, foundation year teacher at Withycombe, said: "As a young teacher it is really hard and especially as the student loan interest rate is going up to 4.8 per cent."

Anne-Marie Stringer, Year 5 teacher at Withycombe, said; "I didn't want to strike for personal reasons, I didn't want to let my children down. But I understand the strike and don't want to let my colleagues down."

The Withycombe teachers joined more than 300 people at mass rally held at Exeter City Football Club - where teachers armed with banners and 'Fair Pay' hats, with an air of fear and solidarity, packed the room as they went on strike for the first time in 22 years.

Members of the National Union of Teachers (NUT), Europe's largest teacher organisation, called for strike action following the government's offer of a 2.45 per cent pay rise.

Teachers from across Devon claimed widespread support and were joined by the University and College Union (UCU) and the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCSU), with 100,000 of its members, including 700 coastguards.

There was little support from parents as they spoke out over the timing of the strike so close to their children taking their SATs - however the National Union of Students gave its full support to all teachers.

Schools could now face further disruptions if the Government ignores teacher's call for 'justice'.

Paula Walsh, Devon branch manager for the PCSU, said: "In Exmouth the Jobcentre closed down this year, there have been 30,000 cuts across the country and we also have a bad pay deal. The government can't carry on doing this."

Barry Frost, national executive member for the NUT, said: "The strike was not just about the pay, it was about the conditions under which they work and about the future of education. Teachers are angry and disillusioned. The strike was for the future of the children we teach and all schools in Britain."

David Clynch, secretary of the Devon County Teacher's Association, added: "There is a climate of fear and pressure. The 2.45 per cent pay rise would mean a pay cut in real terms because it is below the current rate of inflation at 4.1 percent."

The union will analyse the results of the national strike on May 8 and ballot members to see if they favour further strike action for an unlimited period.

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