Education workers to hold mass lobby at Parliament to protest pension cuts - press release
6 September 2011
Up to 25,000 teachers and lecturers will gather at Parliament on Wednesday, 26 October in a mass lobby to protest against ruthless pension cuts in the education sector. The unprecedented action is part of a joint campaign by seven leading education unions to draw attention to the myths surrounding the debate on pensions and to the severity of the cuts being proposed.
The campaign, Decent Pensions: Securing the Future for All, aims to have a representative at the lobby from every school in the maintained, academy and independent sectors in England and Wales as well as from colleges and post-92 universities (approximately 25,000 in total), and many institutions are expected to send groups of staff to swell numbers even further.
The lobby is being held during the half-term holiday to avoid interrupting school children’s education and causing disruption for parents. However the seven unions have not ruled out further industrial action if the government continues to erode pensions.
Information is going out this week to schools , colleges and post-92 universities along with petitions to be signed by staff on behalf of their school or college. All 25,000 petitions will be collected and presented to MPs during the lobby on the 26th. If signatures are collected from most of the staff in schools, colleges and universities, it will be the biggest ever traditional petition from those who work in education institutions.
Teachers and lecturers also will be scheduling lobbying meetings with their local MPs during the afternoon of the lobby.
Organisers of the campaign issued this statement:
“The fact that thousands of teachers and lecturers from around the country are giving up a day of their half-term holiday to come to London to lobby MPs shows just how high feelings are running. The profession is absolutely united in condemning the scandalous way pensions are being ransacked to pay off the national debt.
“The public has a right to know that cuts could ultimately affect the quality of education for young people as high calibre graduates re-think their career choice. We will also be challenging the myths about how public sector pensions impact on taxpayers.
“Teachers and lecturers never take strike action lightly and for this reason the lobby has been organised during half term, to ensure there is no disruption to pupils or parents. However if the government continues to erode pensions, which they know are both affordable and sustainable, teachers will be left with no option but to take further action, including strike action.
“We urge the government to listen to the message that this lobby sends. Teachers cannot stand by and see their pensions eroded for purely political reasons. It is entirely possible to avoid further disruption but for that to happen the government needs to negotiate fairly.”