Fury as school names staff

MORE than 1,000 teachers, lecturers, court staff and other public-sector workers in Calderdale took part in yesterday’s strike over pensions.

And there was outcry when one school named three teachers on the council’s website.

An NUT spokesman described the naming as “absolutely disgraceful.”

At least 50 schools are believed to have closed completely and there was a limited amount of cases heard at Calderdale Magistrates Court.

More than 200 strikers attended a rally in Halifax while pickets protested outside the JobCentre Plus office and Crown House tax office.

Labour MP Linda Riordan, the only Yorkshire MP to address a rally, told strikers: “Thousands of public sector workers in Calderdale are being hit in the pocket by this Government’s policies of wage reductions, pension changes and increasing the retirement age.

“No one decides to go on strike and lose a day’s wages lightly but this is about sending a clear message to the Government that enough is enough - the fight back has begun.”

The school that published the names of striking teachers was criticised at an NUT rally in Arden Road Social Club, Halifax.

Sue McMahon, Calderdale branch secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said she was horrified that Ling Bob Primary, in Halifax, had chosen to name three teachers whose classes were suspended on Calderdale Council’s website.

“It is absolutely disgraceful and something we will be taking up with the school and the council,” she said.

Head teacher Rosemary Solan was unavailable for comment.

Ling Bob was one of 22 schools partly closed yesterday; 36 were closed altogether and 18 remained open, according to the council.

Another 25 failed to notify the authority.

Trinity Academy, at Holmfield, Halifax, was partly open and principal Michael Gosling said senior staff helped to provide cover for five of the seven year groups.

Most primary schools in Todmorden were at least partially open, including Todmorden CofE School, which held its anuual sport day.

Members of the Public and Commercial Services Union picketed the JobCentre Plus office at Crossfield House, St James’ Road.

Union rep Ian Crossland said staff were not only concerned about pay and pensions, but also about plans to close the office and cut jobs.

Shelagh Hirst, of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, said her members were not just angry about the Government proposals to make teachers work longer and pay more towards their pensions, but were angry about the way the Government had gone about making the changes.

“Our members are known for being moderate. We don’t want to overthrow the coalition Government but we want to protest about what they are doing to our pensions. We expect to be treated fairly,” she said.

Jan Holden, of the University College Union, said that while private sector workers could be offered company shares, public sector workers relied on modest pensions in return for round-the-clock working.

“Damage us and you damage the structure of the country,” she said.