PARENTS have prepared for disruption as hundreds of teachers and public sector staff across Gloucestershire will go on strike due to an ongoing dispute over pay and pensions tomorrow.
Union members are walking out in support of industrial action as anger is growing over the 2010 pay freeze and the one per cap that was imposed two years ago.
A total of 14 schools will be shut altogether and a further 35 partially closed as a result of action by the NUT (National Union of Teachers) which says it is unfair that members should pay more towards their pensions, work longer hours but receive less when they retire.
Parents have taken to social networking website Facebook to vent their frustration that their children are losing a school day.
Trace Lapsley said: “They are quick enough to fine parents for taking kids out of school. Where’s the logic? What about the working parents who have to take a day off to look after them and lose a day’s pay?”
Teaching assistant Caroline Wilson said she is striking because her boss does not have the power to award her a pay rise.
“The point is to cause disruption so that people who don’t work in schools can see how needed we are. We are the poorest paid in the public sector and 77 per cent of us are women,” she said. “And the holidays we have are all unpaid.”
Taking into account the effect of inflation, local government and school workers claim to have suffered a real-term pay cut of almost 20 per cent since 2011.
A week of further strikes are planned by members of the Fire Brigades Union from Monday.
Gloucester City Council said bin men and street sweepers are employed by contractors Amey and will not be affected by the strikes.
Peter Rowland, headteacher at Severn Vale School, in Quedgeley, said: “Any disruption to children’s education is regrettable but people actually feel they can benefit them in the longer term by standing up for what they believe in.”