UNIONS inflicted misery on nine in ten schools today — and threatened another walkout if their pay demands are not met.
Strikes by tens of thousands of teachers at the majority of sixth-form colleges and schools left classrooms sitting empty.
9Thousands of teachers left classrooms empty today and went on strikeCredit: Getty9Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn joined the NEU on the picket lineCredit: PA9Sitting Labour MP Zarah Sultana backed the strikers – defying boss Sir Keir StarmerCredit: Zarah SultanaJust over one in ten schools fully opened amid industrial action by an estimated 200,000 members of the National Education Union.
Education Secretary Gillian Keegan said: “One school closure is too many and it remains deeply disappointing the NEU proceeded with this disruptive action.”
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak also hit out in a thinly-veiled attack on the strikes which left pupils, many still playing catch-up after the pandemic, missing lessons.
He told the Commons: “I am clear that our children’s education is precious and they deserve to be in school today being taught.”
On a day of paralysis likened to lockdown, the teaching staff were joined by train drivers and civil servants on Walkout Wednesday — with 500,000 downing tools.
Militant teaching union leaders have offered ministers a stark choice of an inflation-busting pay hike or further strikes.
They demanded Ms Keegan “step up with concrete and meaningful proposals” by February 28.
Joint NEU chiefs Mary Bousted and Kevin Courtney insisted that their members will do “whatever it takes” to get a new pay deal.
The warning came as millions of parents had to mind their kids.
They will also be forced to rip up work schedules with a series of regional walkouts and two more national strike days planned.
9NEU joint general secretary Mary Bousted owns a Victorian townhouse in Southwark worth £1.5millionCredit: Elliott Franks9And comrade Kevin Courtney owns a £2.1million Victorian terrace house in Stoke NewingtonCredit: PACHIEFS’ BIG PADSBy Amir Razavi
CHAMPAGNE socialists leading the teachers’ strikes own houses worth a combined £3.6million.
National Education Union joint general secretary Mary Bousted, 64, owns a Victorian townhouse in Southwark, South London, worth £1.5million.
Comrade Kevin Courtney has a £2.1million Victorian terrace house in Stoke Newington, North East London.
A union spokesman said: “Kevin Courtney and Mary Bousted could both afford to buy a house on their teacher’s salary in the 1980s.
“This is now out of the reach of most young people.”
Samantha Wilkinson, 30, of Ashington, Northumberland, said: “The teachers walked out and expected us to home-school the kids.
“We did enough of that during the pandemic. The kids missed so much school, it isn’t fair on them.
“Teachers are already well paid and now they’re demanding more. They’re taking the mick.”
Becky Bohan, 43, of Hertfordshire, said the strike action caused one of her sons to have anxiety attacks.
She said: “I’m trying to juggle my life, my kids, my mental health and our financial situation in a bid to make ends meet.”
The industrial action hit around 23,000 schools today, with some teachers bringing their children to join them on picket lines. Labour MPs also turned out.
Tory MP and former teacher Jonathan Gullis said: “The last thing that any teacher should be doing is dragging their children as some sort of political handbag up and down picket lines.”
The NEU said 40,000 school staff have signed up in recent weeks.
The union wants better salaries to keep more teachers in post and help recruit more from university or back into the profession.
Meanwhile, former Tory Party chairman Jake Berry laughed at mandarins protesting in Whitehall.
He scoffed: “I haven’t seen this many civil servants in Westminster since the start of the pandemic.
“Just a shame they’ve only come in to stand on a picket line. Back to working from home tomorrow.”
Border Agency staff at airports and ports were among 100,000 civil servants striking.
One at the Independent Office for Police Conduct described a two per cent pay offer as a “slap in the face”.
The PM’s official spokesman said: “We want to have further talks with the unions.
“We have to balance that against the need to be fair to all taxpayers, the majority of whom don’t work for the public sector.”
913 Labour MPs joined pickets despite Sir Keir’s ban9And former Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell also turned outCredit: John McDonnell9Richard Burgon MP for Leeds East also showed supportCredit: Belinda Jiao9And Welsh Labour MP Beth Winter, right, joined picketersCredit: PACORBYN TURNS OUT FOR RALLYFORMER Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn supported strikers on their march through Westminster.
And 13 Labour MPs, including Richard Burgon, Ian Lavery and Kate Osborne, defied boss Sir Keir Starmer to join pickets.
PM Rishi Sunak accused the Labour leader of backing union bosses rather than pupils missing classes.
Story Credit: thesun.co.uk