Mums support teachers as public workers stage strike

Public sector workers marched from George Street to Rewley Road fire station in Oxford before gathering in Frideswide Square for speeches during the rally. Picture: OX68541 Andrew Walmsley

Public sector workers marched from George Street to Rewley Road fire station in Oxford before gathering in Frideswide Square for speeches during the rally. Picture: OX68541 Andrew Walmsley

First published in News
Last updated
Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Education Reporter, also covering West Oxford. Call me on (01865) 425437

TEACHERS, firefighters and Job Centre staff took part in rallies in Oxford yesterday during a national day of industrial action.

In Oxfordshire, 58 schools were either closed or partly closed as members of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) went on strike for the third time this academic year.

Parents at affected schools expressed disappointment over the move, although admitted they supported the teachers’ reasons.

Mum-of-two Mary Parlett had to take a day off work to look after her children, seven-year-old Lewis and Neeve, five, both in the only two classes at Harwell Primary School which were affected.

She said: “I see their point, but the fact of the matter is that we are given hardly any notice.”

Nikki Smith, whose seven-year-old son Charley is also a pupil at Harwell, said: “I understand why they are doing it, but that doesn’t sit well with parents.”

Oxfordshire’s assistant secretary for the NUT Ed Finch, a Larkrise Primary School teacher, said: “I’m a father myself and I know how annoying and inconveniencing it is when childcare falls through.

Oxford Mail:

Ed Finch, assistant secretary of Oxfordshire NUT

“What I would say to those parents is ‘please believe we are doing this as a fight for your children, their right to a qualified teacher, their right to a good quality education’.

“I am losing money today. I wouldn’t do that if I didn’t care deeply and what motivates me is children’s education.”

About 50 members of the Fire Brigade Union (FBU), the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) at the Job Centre in Oxford, Unison Health and the Communications Workers Union joined in a march from George Street to Rewley Road fire station, before gathering in Frideswide Square for speeches.

During his weekly questions session in Parliament yesterday, Prime Minister and Witney MP David Cameron said: “I don’t think these strikes are right and I think people should turn up for work.

“I think the time has come for looking at setting thresholds in strike ballots. The (NUT) strike ballot took place in 2012, based on a 27 per cent turnout.

“How can it possibly be right for our children’s education to be disrupted by trade unions acting in that way?

“It is time to legislate and it will be in the Conservative manifesto.”

Slade fire station firefighter Chris Smith said: “I thought we were a democratic society which has a right to union action. I think this is the wrong move by Mr Cameron.”

Oxford East MP Andrew Smith said: “I share local trade unionists’ concerns on important issues at stake in the action being taken, for example the need to make sure all teachers are qualified teachers, a fair deal for firefighters on their pensions and retirement, and the cuts in living standards facing public sector workers, especially the lowest paid who do vital work for our communities.

“The workers concerned feel the Government simply isn’t listening.

“I urge talks and meaningful negotiations.”

Nationally almost 3,000 schools, nurseries and colleges were affected by the walkout and demonstrations took place in London – which teachers from Oxfordshire attended – as well as outside courts, council offices and Job Centres across the country.

Do you want alerts delivered straight to your phone via our WhatsApp service? Text NEWS, SPORT and JAYDEN depending on what services you want, and your full name to 07767 417704. Save our number into your phone as Oxford Mail WhatsApp and ensure you have WhatsApp installed.
Our top stories

Update: Police say Bicester explosives may have been plundered from protected sites

Oxford Mail:

11:06am Thursday 18th September 2014

WAR munitions discovered this morning at a home in Bicester may have come from illegal metal detecting at heritage sites.

Novelist books in to join Oxford prep school celebrations

Oxford Mail:

9:30am Thursday 18th September 2014

MIDSOMER Murders creator Anthony Horowitz joined an Oxford school to help celebrate its 150th birthday.

Mullins backs O'Dowda to hit the heights

Oxford Mail:

9:30am Thursday 18th September 2014

CALLUM O’Dowda has all the attributes to progress and play at a higher level, according to Oxford United teammate Johnny Mullins.

Nearly a third of county five-year-olds have tooth decay

Oxford Mail:

9:00am Thursday 18th September 2014

ALMOST one in three Oxfordshire five-year-olds has tooth decay, new figures have revealed.

Pilot error blamed for flipping Tiger Moth

Oxford Mail: CROY: Enthusiast hopes Airport House biplane will fly again

8:30am Thursday 18th September 2014

A VINTAGE aircraft owned by a Oxfordshire man crash-landed because of pilot error.

Mum Ruth makes it a world first in hunt for Ebola vaccine

Oxford Mail:

8:30am Thursday 18th September 2014

A MUM-of-two from Oxfordshire was the first person in the world to be injected with an Ebola gene yesterday as part of a city-led battle against the deadly virus.

Comments (1)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

11:54am Fri 11 Jul 14

Adrian1 says...

I would look forwards to a system where at least 50% or did I hear 60% of the people elligible to vote had to tip the balance in favour of an opinion as opposed to the majority of those who were able to show / could be bothered. When would the last legitimate government of this country have been elected? Not in my lifetime. Apply it to all and I'd accept, apply it to 'select demonised minorities' and I seem to remember my dad used to have to shoot people like that early in his life to protect the freedoms we are allowing this government to erode.
I would look forwards to a system where at least 50% or did I hear 60% of the people elligible to vote had to tip the balance in favour of an opinion as opposed to the majority of those who were able to show / could be bothered. When would the last legitimate government of this country have been elected? Not in my lifetime. Apply it to all and I'd accept, apply it to 'select demonised minorities' and I seem to remember my dad used to have to shoot people like that early in his life to protect the freedoms we are allowing this government to erode. Adrian1
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree