Shutdown

Protestors at the strike rally in Barkers Pool
Protestors at the strike rally in Barkers Pool

THOUSANDS of pupils in Sheffield will be told to stay at home on Wednesday with unions expecting the ‘overwhelming majority’ of Sheffield schools to be shut by the strike over pensions.

Members of four major teaching unions have all voted to join the action, which will hit council services, Sheffield College, the universities, the police service, hospitals, job centres and other Government agencies.

A big demonstration will be held in Barkers Pool as part of the national Day of Action, backed by the Trades Union Congress, in protest at the Government’s pension reforms.

Schools will be affected as the four major teaching unions - the NUT, NASUWT, ATL and the NAHT - have all voted to join the one-day strike.

Ben Morris, joint divisional secretary of Sheffield NUT said: “It may be that a small number of schools are open to a small number of pupils, but that will be all. Compared to the action in June, this time the strike will be very solid indeed.”

In June many schools stayed partly open with certain year groups or individual classes told to stay at home.

Many primary headteachers are members of the NAHT and so many more four to 11-year-olds are expected to be affected this time.

Mr Morris said schools would be further affected by support staff in GMB and Unison also walking out. “Headteachers will need to carry out risk assessments and if staff like caretakers are not in school, they will have to shut for the day. We know our 2,900 members feel strongly about this huge attack on their pensions, which is not just about pay but a whole way of life.

“It is a fundamental part of their working conditions and to defend such conditions is what unions are set up to do.”

The council’s official line is that it hopes all schools and services will be able to open for business on Wednesday.

A spokesman said: “We want to continue to deliver education to children and young people where possible. The council has requested that schools try to minimise any disruption as best as they can. Schools will need to review their plans for business continuity and are asked not to send home any pupils unless there are appropriate alternatives.”

The Sheffield College will be closed to all students on Wednesday, apart from those taking course assessments and exams. The closure affects Hillsborough College, Norton College, Peaks College, Sheffield City College and Olive Grove Engineering Centre, and evening classes.

The exception is students taking course assessments and exams who do still need to attend college on that day.

Lecturers at Sheffield and Hallam Universities, who are members of the University and College Union, are expected to walk out.