Unions join national strike as pupils enjoy day off

PUBLISHED: 12:52 30 November 2011 | UPDATED: 13:13 30 November 2011

Unison members picket Dartford Civic Centre

Unison members picket Dartford Civic Centre

Steven Warner Unison Dartford

Unions came out in force in north Kent today for their mass strike over pensions.

Unions came out in force today for their mass strike over pensions. In north Kent public sector workers’ union Unison said several hundred members to strike and children were enjoying an unofficial day’s holiday.

Thousands of pupils at 18 schools in Dartford and Gravesend had a day off school as teachers and other public sector workers joined the national day of action.

Union members were due to join a rally outside Dartford Civic Centre.

Steven Warner Unison branch secretary said: “Our members working at Dartford Borough Council abstained from going to work today and an official picket line was set up outside the Council offices. Unison members took their message to the commuting public. They are taking action because they believe dignity and security in retirement are important and that’s why they pay into their pension. The proposed changes are not fair. Everyone, whatever their job and wherever they work, deserves a decent pension.”

Roger Gough, Kent County Council’s cabinet member in charge of business strategy, performance and health reform said:

“Our priority during any action of this nature, indeed at all times, is to maintain our services to the people in Kent. For that reason, we do have clear guidelines in place to respond to strike action. This includes measures to make sure that any potential disruption to services is either minimised or avoided completely.

“It is difficult to assess the precise impact this could have in Kent, and will depend upon both union members and non union staff as well as more general support levels.”

In Dartford ten schools were set to shut completely for the day.

These were Bean Primary, Dartford Bridge Community School, Holy Trinity CofE Primary, Langafel C of E Primary, Sedley’s C of E Primary, Westhill Primary School.

Industrial action also saw the closure of Westgate Primary, Leigh Academy,

Longfield Academy and Wilmington Academy. A further 14 schools were due to be partially closed.

Eight schools in Gravesham were scheduled to shut for lessons with St John’s Catholic Primary School shut, Shorne CofE Primary closed to pupils but open to staff, Singlewell Primary, Northfleet Nursery, Northfleet School for Girls, Vigo Village School, Saint George’s C of E School and St John’s Roman Catholic School were all due to be closed for the day.

Another 14 schools faced partial closure, with just one class closed at Wrotham Road Primary and Meopham Community Academy.

By contrast Dover Road Community School was due to have just one class open for lessons.

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