Suffolk: Leader of Labour group at county council to join NUT at strike rally in Ipswich as teachers walk out tomorrow in protest over changes to pay

Sandy Martin (Labour), Suffolk county councillor for Ipswich St Johns Sandy Martin (Labour), Suffolk county councillor for Ipswich St Johns

Tuesday, March 25, 2014
2:28 PM

The leader of the Labour group at Suffolk County Council will join members of the National Union of Teachers at a teachers’ strike rally tomorrow.

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The strike has been called by the union to protest against proposed changes to teachers’ pay and conditions.

Councillor Sandy Martin said, “There are real concerns about the way teachers and education are being dealt with in this country” and added that the Labour group “share those concerns”.

However he declined to state whether he was in support of the strike, saying: “It’s not my decision one way or the other.”

Mr Martin said he appreciated the concern over the disruption the strike would cause.

“However the disruption that is being caused to education in this country by such things as the academies programme, the free schools programme, dismantling the local education authorities, under-funding of school transport, changing the exam set-up, continuing talk about changing the curriculum, all of those things are actually far more disruptive to pupils’ ability to get a good education than one day of strike action,” he said.

“I think raising the issue about what is going on in education is well worth doing. I’m not going to attack the strike or say they shouldn’t be doing it.”

Teachers from Suffolk will hold a rally and march in Ipswich on the day of the strike, assembling in Giles Circus at 10.30am and finishing at the Cornhill.

The dispute centres on the introduction of a performance-related pay structure and a tougher pensions package which would see them receive their pension at the age of 67.

NASUWT has joined the NUT on the last two national strikes, but will not be striking on Wednesday.

The secretary of Suffolk NUT, Graham White, claimed there to be “unanimity” of opposition to the reforms among teachers and said he was “disappointed” that the NASUWT wouldn’t strike.

“It looks to me that there will be a number of schools closed and a number partly closed,” he said.

“I’m not aware of any schools being completely unaffected. There is still time to get people and I’m very hopeful.

“It’s very regrettable that we need to take this action but we are left with no option, we are still waiting for Mr Gove to get around the table and discuss these proposals.

“There has been a meeting with the Department of Education to which Mr Gove did not turn up. He is not prepared to discuss the dispute.

“He’s prepared to discuss how we implement the pension changes but not whether they should be implemented, which seems to me not to be a very helpful attitude.”

A spokesman for the Department of Education said: “Parents will struggle to understand why the NUT is pressing ahead with strikes over the Government’s measures to let heads pay good teachers more.

“They called for talks to avoid industrial action, we agreed to their request, and talks have been taking place weekly.

“Despite this constructive engagement with their concerns, the NUT is taking action that will disrupt parents’ lives, hold back children’s education and damage the reputation of the profession.”

Councillor Lisa Chambers, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for education, skills and young people, said: “This is a national argument between the unions and the government and Suffolk children should not be dragged into it. Many people will ask how teachers can justify going on strike over pay and workload concerns at the same time as wanting to improve educational attainment.

“On the relatively rare occasions that teachers go on strike, we support heads and encourage them to plan ahead and aim to keep schools open wherever possible. We know that many teachers won’t actually want to strike and will work with heads to keep their schools running.

“In the meantime, we’d advise parents to check with their schools, on the county council’s website or in the local media - before sending their children to school.

“We would also urge negotiation and discussion rather than strike action and hope to see as many Suffolk schools as possible remain open.”

14 comments

  • Both Mr Martin and the teachers have some front, the teachers are responsible for delivering some of the worst educated children in the country- give yourselves a pat on the back. The children should be the ones on strike.

    Report this comment

    True blue

    Tuesday, March 25, 2014

  • Good old labour if they can't get what they want blackmail the country and it's people ,god help us if they get back to power in parliament we will have strikes every week with the backing of their MPS

    Report this comment

    pandy

    Tuesday, March 25, 2014

  • In my opinion there is a man who supposedly represents the community, but is totally and absolutely obsessed with shoving his extreme left wing views down everyone's throats. Indeed he would be well suited to living in North Korea...

    Report this comment

    JAMES EASTER

    Tuesday, March 25, 2014

  • Does anyone know, is that the same Sandy Martin that used to model nude at Suffolk College for art students? Guess it must be as unlikely to be two people in the area with same name. Sorry to hijack comments just saw the name and brought back memories.

    Report this comment

    Mike Hunt

    Tuesday, March 25, 2014

  • What a complete fool! Typical Labour.

    Report this comment

    David White

    Tuesday, March 25, 2014

  • Sandy Martin appears to be the only person that has been published in the media, who actually has mentioned and understands the deeper cause of concern amongst teachers. He has clearly LISTENED to education professionals rather than just guessing what is going on, or just making it up. I'm fed up of seeing the same old 'it's sad teachers are striking because we are letting heads pay good teachers more'. It's a load of rubbish - it's SO much more than that. See my comments on the more recent news story about the strike, which has a video as I won't repeat it here. Good job Sandy - everyone getting angry about him should feel redfaced as you have been well and truly fooled by the media. You all have a brain so use it rather than accepting the spoonfed rubbish that the media peddles day in and day out.

    Report this comment

    IpswichResident

    Wednesday, March 26, 2014

  • Bringing things to a halt is what Labour voters thrive on......just look at the debris they made of the economy. Do these political Martians live in the real world?

    Report this comment

    Supernova6

    Tuesday, March 25, 2014

  • Yet again those who are low paid will suffer the most. Having to pay for childcare or taking a day off work just so teachers can strike - an ineffective form of protest, is making the people most likely to support unions and the Labour Party pay the most for their industrial action...

    Report this comment

    Mister Cynical

    Tuesday, March 25, 2014

  • Teachers never went on strike when i was at school in the 1970's . Why do they do it at the drop of a hat now ? Should they not take their part in austerity ? Many other Public Sector workers have had pay restraint etc and they should not be striking , stirking makes no difference at all , just means they will get less in their pay packets this month , do it for a couple of months then , save the country a fortune ?

    Report this comment

    Poppys Dad

    Tuesday, March 25, 2014

  • Good old labour if they can't get what they want blackmail the country and it's people ,god help us if they get back to power in parliament we will have strikes every week with the backing of their MPS

    Report this comment

    pandy

    Tuesday, March 25, 2014

  • Does anyone know if this is the same Sandy Martin that used to be a nude model at Suffolk College for the art students. I guess it must be as unlikely two people in area with same name. Sorry to hijack comments just brought back memories seeing the name.

    Report this comment

    Mike Hunt

    Tuesday, March 25, 2014

  • Hold on, he "is" attending but declined to comment regarding his support. That sounds like typical Labour!! get into the limelight, pretend to be behind the "people" then stab them in the back when they aren't looking. This strike action is simply inappropriate. My other half is a nurse and she hasn't had a pay increase for years. Added to which she is not allowed to strike, why are teachers allowed to do so?! The public sector is not a level playing field, teachers should not expect special treatment. Margaret Thatcher said "the problem with socialism is eventually you run out of other peoples money" taking a bigger chunk of the public purse without delivering results is ridiculous. Public sector services are there to serve the local population, teachers have failed to meet targets, and education results have slipped down. They certainly don't deserve more money.

    Report this comment

    Rory Breaker

    Tuesday, March 25, 2014

  • Problem is that this action only affects parents and their children. Doesn't the statutory duty to provide education include a responsibility to provide a contingency to cover such disruption? Many private sector workers have had their pay and pension conditions change over the past years because they have become unaffordable. Why does the public sector assume they are a special case?

    Report this comment

    amsterdam81

    Tuesday, March 25, 2014

  • In my opinion there is a man who supposedly represents the community, but is totally and absolutely obsessed with shoving his extreme left wing views down everyone's throats. Indeed he would be well suited to living in North Korea...

    Report this comment

    JAMES EASTER

    Tuesday, March 25, 2014

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