Strike disrupts schools and services in Derbyshire

Pensions march in Derby Hundreds of people attended a march and rally in Derby city centre

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More than 370 schools in Derbyshire were closed for the day due to the national strike over pensions.

In Derby, 79 of 92 schools closed and at least 300 out of 404 county council-run schools closed or partially shut.

A march, which started at Derby's Silk Mill and ended at the Market Place, was attended by more than 1,000 people.

The 24-hour walkout caused significant disruption to services across Derbyshire. The government said the strike action would "achieve nothing".

The government said with people living longer, the cost of public sector pensions was rising and reform was desperately needed.

At the scene

SIMON HARE

BBC News

In Derby's Market Place, a skating rink is currently being built. Those attending the rally for striking public sector workers on Wednesday lunchtime say it is the government who are on thin ice over pension reform.

The police had been told to expect around 300 people, but it's thought an estimated 1,500 marched through Derby city centre before gathering near the Quad.

From their banners it was clear to see that many areas of the public sector were represented - teachers, nurses and council workers.

Some then crammed into a small marquee to hear speeches from trade unionists and invited guests.

Jessica Lee, Conservative MP for Erewash, said pension negotiations were still continuing.

She said: "We are not trying to penalise in the way that is being suggested by some of the union bosses."

Karen Guy, from Unison, said making public sector workers pay more in pension contributions was "unfair".

She said: "Staff can't afford to pay an extra £50, £60 a month just for the government to raise an extra £3bn."

In Chesterfield, a rally was held at Club Chesterfield, on Chester Street, following a march from Rykneld Square which started at 11:00 GMT.

Derby City Council said the Whitaker and Morleston day centres and its customer service office on Albion Street had closed.

It said it would keep an updated list of school closures and affected services on its website.

Derbyshire County Council said services would be affected but it "would continue to provide services to the most vulnerable people".

The council also said it would maintain an up-to-date list of school closures.

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