AROUND 25,000 teachers and lecturers are expected to gather at Parliament on Wednesday 26th October in a mass lobby to protest against savage pension cuts in the education sector.
The 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.
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.
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.”