Schools set for strike action day

NUT Wigan chapel members during a strike in Manchester
NUT Wigan chapel members during a strike in Manchester

WIGAN parents may have to wait until the last minute before finding out whether their child’s school day will be affected by strike action.

Members of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) are due to walk out on Wednesday although it is not expected that any of the borough’s schools will be forced to close.

School governors have informed parents this week that contingency plans have not been finalised as union members are not obliged to inform bosses of their intention to strike.

A spokesman for Wigan Council said: “As negotiations are ongoing, we don’t yet have confirmation of which schools will or won’t be open. Schools will notify parents directly closer to the time.

“Parents are advised to check the school websites or to contact them directly if they’re unsure of arrangements.”

The union is taking action against “excessive workload and bureaucracy, performance related pay and unfair pension changes” affecting their members.

Wigan branch secretary Max Atkins told the Evening Post that the NUT is being forced to act because education minister Michael Gove “is just not listening to teachers.”

North West secretary Avis Gilmore added: “Teachers deeply regret the disruption caused by this strike action to parents and teachers but while the Government refuses to talk about the issues our members have, they have no alternative other than to demonstrate the seriousness of their concerns, for the future standard and provision of education.”

It is the first time in recent years that the NUT will not be joined in their strike action by fellow members of the NASUWT union.

The NASUWT will not take part this week after Mr Gove agreed to talks with the unions about his education reforms.

But Rob Wilson, chair of Wigan NASUWT, the teaching union with the largest number of members in the borough, said it is now time for Mr Gove to act.

He said: “We can talk all he wants but if he says no, no, no’ - we’ll be saying out, out, out’.”

NUT members in the North West are being encouraged to attend strike rallies in Preston, Manchester and Liverpool on Wednesday.