Barking and Dagenham public sector workers join pensions rally
Spirits were running high as teachers and public sector workers from the borough joined a mass rally in central London to voice their opposition to the government’s pension plans.
Members of the Barking and Dagenham branches of the National Union of Teachers (NUT), University College Union (UCU) Public and the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) joined thousands of protesters as they descended on Westminster today.
The Public Commercial Services Union (PCS), which represents staff working in courts and job centres, was also on strike.
The group marched from Lincoln’s Inn Fields to Westminster Central Hall, under a huge ‘Barking and Dagenham NUT’ banner, to protest against smaller pensions, rising contributions and later retirement.
Paul Wallis, NUT representative at Sydney Russell School, Parsloes Avenue, Dagenham, said: “It’s fantastic. We are not exactly the most radical group of people but you can see from the number of people that turned up today what the feelings are.”
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All secondary schools in the borough were closed as a result of the strike of today’s nationawide strike, while dozens of infant and junior schools were partially closed.
Dave Spagnol, PCS branch secretary for Barking and Dagenham, said that most of the borough’s 150 job centre workers had walked out.
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The strike is in response to the government’s demands of cuts of up to �852 million from the Teachers’ Pension Scheme.
The government is also proposing to use a lower measure of inflation when calculating annual pension increases while minimum retirement age is to go up to 65.