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Flintshire teachers strike over pension plans

SEVEN schools in Flintshire were closed or partially closed yesterday (Wednesday) when teachers walked out in a dispute over pensions.

Members of Welsh teachers’ union Undeb Cenedlaethol Athrawon Cymru (UCAC) staged a one-day strike in protest at Government plans to cut pensions.

Welsh-medium secondary school Ysgol Maes Garmon and Ysgol Gymrea g Glanrafon in Mold were fully closed as a result of the industrial action while Derwen Foundation School, Higher Kinnerton, Ysgol Gwenffrwd, Holywell, Ysgol Gynradd Trelogan and Ysgol Terrig in Treuddyn were partially closed.

Elaine Edwards, UCAC’s general secretary said: “The Government’s proposals are totally unnecessary and absolutely unfair. Asking teachers and lecturers to pay more each month, to work until they’re 68 and even then to receive smaller payments in retirement shows a lack of understanding of the nature of the profession and also a complete lack of respect to educators.”

“The Teachers’ Pension Scheme is sustainable. That isn’t the problem. The problem is the enormous deficit created by the bankers – but the government won’t own up to that.

“For teachers, taking strike action doesn’t come easily; we’re all too aware of the effect on pupils and their parents. But we’re concerned that this attack on pensions will have a negative impact on educational standards by making teaching a less attractive profession – and we know that that’s a matter of concern for parents too.”

UCAC has 80 members in Flintshire, in 20 schools and the union expected the majority of members to take part in the walk out.

The decision to strike was made after 89% of members voted in favour of industrial action.