Union strike stalls refused by council

Max Atkins
Max Atkins

A UNION has expressed disappointment after Wigan Council refused permission for a pop-up shop during a forthcoming strike.

The National Union of Teachers (NUT) applied to the local authority to take over empty units in Wigan and Leigh town centres in the run-up to industrial action next week.

Having been refused permission to set up shop in empty units, which would have been home to information about the strike and activities for children, the NUT attempted to get their message across with a stall in the market, but this was also rebuffed.

There will now be no action taking place in the borough during the strike, which the union said was a missed opportunity to try and dampen some of the inevitable criticism caused by schools remaining shut.

However, both sides of the disagreement have now adopted a conciliatory tone, pledging to work together.

Wigan NUT branch secretary Max Atkins said: “We wanted to explain to parents why we were on strike, as well as giving out balloons and cakes and having games for the children.

“A lot of comments I’ve seen online suggest teachers just want an extra holiday, but it’s about what Michael Gove is trying to do to education and their children’s futures.”

Wigan Council director for economy Steve Normington said: “The decision to give access to vacant shops lies with private landlords, not the council.

“Wigan markets are hosting events as part of the Love your Market celebrations. The markets felt the presence of NUT would detract from their event and activities.”

A joint statement released by the NUT and Wigan Council said: “Wigan Council and the NUT are committed to working together to support employees and union members but realistically there will be occasions where we are unable to reach agreement.”