Strike chaos looms

CHAOS is on the cards as thousands of staff are set to walk out of schools, offices and courts as part of a major strike tomorrow (Thurs).

The walk-out, being called the ‘biggest strike in a generation’, could bring North Somerset services to a halt as thousands of teachers and public sector workers join forces in protest against Government pension cuts.

Picket lines will be set up at schools in the area and, for the first time in living memory, members of three main teaching unions will join forces with public sector workers to stage the massive strike.

Thousands of Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) members, including dozens of those in air traffic control and immigration at Bristol Airport, at job centres and at North Somerset Courthouse in St Georges, will join the industrial action across the district.

Bristol Airport has, however, insisted the strikes will not cause any disruption for passengers.

The PCS also has on its register coastguard members who are responsible for the North Somerset coastline who will walk out of their jobs for the day.

Teachers at primary, secondary and special schools across North Somerset are also due to strike, with Backwell and Clevedon secondary schools among those that will fully close for the day.

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Along with members of PCS, those of the University and College Union, the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and the Association of Teachers and Lecturers are among those taking part.

A spokesman for the PCS said the unions apologise for any disruption caused, but that they want the Government to take notice of what they are telling it.

NUT South West representative and Nailsea School teacher Jon Reddiford said: “This strike will go ahead and we want to have maximum impact.

“We want the Government to sit up and listen to what we are saying.

“This strike will involve a majority of teachers in most schools for the whole day.

“It is not something we would do at any opportunity, but we are extremely unhappy at what’s being proposed.

“I can’t remember teachers ever joining up with public sector workers in a walk-out and this is the biggest strike in a generation.”

Ministers have said pension changes were needed in some sectors as people are living longer and the Department for Education has written to union leaders setting out plans to recoup �2.8billion from the Teachers Pensions Scheme.

Teachers and public sector workers are concerned they may also be forced to work until the age of 68.

Here is a list of the schools in the Times coverage area that are due to close or partially close tomorrow:

Primary schools:

Flax Bourton Primary - Full closure.

Golden Valley Primary, Nailsea - Closed to all classes except to year six pupils on camp.

High Down Junior, Portishead - Closed to all classes. Year six residential trip and year five kayaking trip unaffected.

Kingshill Primary, Nailsea - All classes closed except for year five.

Portishead Primary - Classes to be closed are RPR (whale), 1CR (seal), 1LR (seahorse), 2SJ (dolphin), 6B (darwin).

St Francis Primary, Nailsea - Years one, three and five affected. Years two, four and six open.

St John Primary, Clevedon - Classes to be closed are Kites 2, Hawks 1 and 3, and Eagles 1,2,3.

St Joseph’s Primary, Portishead - Full closure.

St Mary’s Primary, Portbury - Reception and year three and four classes closed.

St Peter’s Primary, Portishead - Six classes closed. Classes due to be open are honeybees and ladybirds (reception), butterflies (year one), dragonflies (year two), willow (year six) and oak (year six).

Tickenham Primary - Full closure.

Wraxall Primary - Key stage two closed. Key stage one and reception open.

Yeo Moor Primary, Clevedon - Full closure.

Secondary schools:

Backwell - Full closure.

Clevedon - Full closure.

Gordano - Years seven and eight closed.

Nailsea - Year ten closed.

St Katherine’s, Pill - All years closing at 1.30pm.

Special schools:

Ravenswood, Nailsea - Classes to be closed are social communication classes (red, blue and yellow), middles years classes (mars), 14-19 classes (years nine, 10, 11, p - 16LC and pc - 16SF).

Education other than at school centres:

Oakhill, Nailsea - Full closure.