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Teachers and postal staff to strike

The current bout of industrial unrest will be stepped up this week when teachers and post office workers will go on strike in separate disputes over issues including pay and jobs.

Members of the Communication Workers Union at Crown Post Offices across the country will walk out tomorrow in protest at plans to close or franchise over 70 branches, as well as over pay.

It will be the 12th round of stoppages since Easter, while staff are also taking other forms of action including a sales ban on financial products and services.

Meanwhile, members of the two biggest teachers' unions will strike in parts of England on Tuesday.

The action, by members of the National Union of Teachers and the NASUWT will affect schools in Eastern England, the Midlands, and Yorkshire and Humberside.

A further strike will be held on October 17 in the North East, Cumbria, London, the South East and South West.

The unions are embroiled in a long-running dispute over pay, pensions, working conditions and jobs.

Chris Keates, general secretary of NASUWT, said: "The attacks on teachers are relentless.

"The reward for their hard work, dedication and commitment has been a vicious assault on their pay, conditions and professionalism.

"Teachers are angered by the recklessness of the Secretary of State's continuing failure to take seriously their concerns and engage in genuine discussions to address them."

The action follows a four-hour strike last week by firefighters in England and Wales over pensions, while postal workers are currently voting on whether to strike over the Government's controversial privatisation of the Royal Mail.

Christine Blower, general secretary of the NUT, said: "There can be no doubt left about the feeling of anger towards this Government's treatment of the teaching profession. The Education Secretary should do as his counterparts in Wales have done and enter into meaningful dialogue with the NUT and NASUWT.

"No teacher takes strike action lightly but the intransigence of this Education Sectary has left teachers with no choice. We cannot stand by and watch our profession be systematically attacked and undermined. There needs to be a change in Government's attitude to teachers and education."

A Department for Education spokesman said: "It is disappointing that the NUT and NASUWT are striking over the Government's measures to allow heads to pay good teachers more. In a recent poll, 61% of respondents supported linking teachers' pay to performance and 70% either opposed the strikes or believed that teachers should not be allowed to strike at all."

The Department for Education added: "All strikes will do is disrupt parents' lives, hold back children's education and damage the reputation of the profession."


From Belfast Telegraph