England

Protest march in Middlesbrough by public sector workers

  • 30 June 2011
  • From the section England
The rally in Middlesbrough
Image caption About 200 people joined the Middlesbrough march

About 200 people have taken part in a march in Middlesbrough as part of a day of action by public sector workers.

Hundreds of schools across Teesside and County Durham were closed or partially closed as teachers went on strike.

Some airports around England were also affected by the action but no disruptions were reported at Durham Tees Valley Airport.

Action is being taken by three teaching unions and the Public and Commercial Services Union over pension changes.

In Middlesbrough, 36 of the town's 54 schools were either closed or partially closed.

In Redcar and Cleveland, it was 34 out of 59, in Hartlepool 29 out of 38, Darlington 29 out of 39 and in Stockton 48 out of 73.

Across County Durham, 132 of the 285 schools were affected in some way.

'Extremely angry'

In Middlesbrough, union members marched through the town centre for a rally in Linthorpe Road.

North East councils estimated that about 25,000 workers in the region would be on strike.

Elaine Kay, northern region secretary of the National Union of Teachers, said: "The government needs to be aware that more and more people are becoming extremely angry about this attack on pensions and will take action to defend them.

"Teachers are not burying their heads in the sand. We have already agreed to possible further changes, at a cost to ourselves, but we cannot negotiate an agreement when the government is failing to bring forward any evidence to support its case."

Stockton Conservative MP James Wharton accused union leaders of "grandstanding".

He said: "I am worried that where schools do choose to close, working families and single parents will face great inconvenience.

"They will have to make alternative child care arrangements that are likely to disrupt their own working lives.

"We need to see less grandstanding and provocation from the unions, and more constructive engagement with the ongoing negotiations."

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