THOUSANDS of pupils across Bassetlaw are off school today after teachers walked out in a fierce row over pensions.
Teachers from schools and colleges are striking over proposed Government changes to their pensions, which they say will mean them working longer, paying more but getting less when they retire.
Among the schools closed are Clarborough Primary, Hallcroft Infant School and Ordsall Primary. Others such as Everton Primary, Elizabethan High School and Retford Oaks High School are open to certain year groups.
Retford Post 16 Centre is open for business as usual.
Strike action was backed by the National Union of Teachers (NUT), Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) and the University and College Union (UCU) as well as the Public and Commercial Service Union (PCS).
The ballot stems from a fierce row over proposed changes to pensions recommended by Lord Hutton, with union bosses saying it is unacceptable for teachers to walk away with an average annual pension of £10,000.
Notts NUT joint secretary Liam Conway said the Government’s proposals had angered members with an “overwhelming” 92 per cent of 3,000 members voting for action.
“Teachers in Bassetlaw are going to be finding themselves in exactly the same position as others in the country if the proposed pension changes go through,” he said.
“They represent the single biggest attack on education. Many young teachers still paying off student loans will work for 36 to 37 years only to get an £8,000 annual pension – if they are lucky.”
Courts and job centres are also expected to face disruption as PCS members prepare to walk out on Thursday.
PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said the proposed changes were “daylight robbery”.
“I don’t think it’s surprising that people will want to defend themselves and if you’re going to defend yourselves it obviously makes sense that you make common cause with council workers, health workers and teachers because we all face the same attacks,” he said.