Redbridge teachers explain why they’re striking as they head for London

Striking Redbridge teachers made their way to London this morning to make their feelings known in the row over pensions.

More than 50 members of the National Union of Teachers (NUT) met at the Olive Branch Caf� in High Street, Wanstead before getting on the train to join other bodies including the Association of Teachers and Lecturers for a march through the capital.

They are angry about being made to pay more in contributions, receive less and retire later at the same time as a pay freeze.

Geoff Bryant, an NUT representative at Loxford School in Loxford Lane, Ilford said: “I’ve never known teachers to be so united and even those who have just started out are taking part which is unheard of.

“I have paid into a pension scheme for 37 years and I will lose tens of thousands of pounds which is completely unacceptable and unwarranted.

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“My pension contribution is going to go up by �250 a month at a time where our pay is frozen so its like a direct pay cut.

“We have had a lot of support from parents who don’t agree with what is happening and I’ve heard there have been no complaints.

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“I expect strike action will carry on and next time it will be even stronger.”

Teachers from Gearies Infants School in Waremead Road, Ilford, Lucy Barham, Martin Matthews and Dan Lea, spoke about why they had decided to strike before they travelled to London this morning.

Mr Lea said: “We’re in this job because we are committed to supporting children and giving something back.

“What the government wants to do doesn’t reward us for what we have done.

“I’ve been paying into a pension since I started and it would be substantially reduced.”

Henry Tiller from Ilford County High School in Fremantle Road, Barkingside insisted strike action was a last resort and said he sympathised with parents.

“I hope they know it’s in the long term interests of their children,” he said.

“A good teaching work force depends on good condition of service.”

Another group of teachers, who did not want to be named, added: “We appreciate there is a problem with money but the government isn’t prepared to talk about a fairer deal.

“We work hard and give it our all and we want something that reflects that commitment.

“We are not asking for more than other people get and just want to be treated in line with the private sector.”

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