Letters, Tuesday, June 28th

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Why teachers are taking action

WE represent the majority of teachers in Sunderland, and wanted to share with you the reasons why we are taking industrial action on our pensions on June 30.

Strike action is not a move that any teacher or headteacher takes lightly. Educating our pupils is the most important aspect of our working life. We take action to protect the quality of education in the North East, because if the Government’s proposals go through teachers will drop out of the pension scheme, potentially making it unviable.

Teaching will become a less attractive profession and it will ultimately be pupils who suffer.

We realise that as teachers we are not the only people who are facing huge threats to our pensions and jobs. We are also aware that many workers in the private sector do not have adequate pension provision and this is an issue the Government needs to address.

But the teachers’ scheme has been well managed over the years, and recently changes were made to take into account the ageing population and to enable costs to reduce over the next 50 years. These reforms are working well.

We are frustrated that after months of talks with Ministers, the Government looks determined to go ahead with its proposals to make us pay more, work longer and get less for our pensions.

While we sincerely regret having to take this action, and any inconvenience caused to parents, pupils and employers, we hope you understand why, as a last resort, we are taking action.

Lawson Armstrong, Senior regional official, ATL – the Education Union; Elaine Kay, Regional secretary, National Union of Teachers

Concert ideas

I WOULD just like to say I am very proud of my home town Sunderland. I and 12 of my friends and family went to see Take That. What a fantastic time we had!

Our ages ranged from 14-52 and we all had fun. I would love to see the likes of Michael Buble, Girls Aloud, JLS, The Saturdays, Westlife or Boyzone for next year – somebody for everybody. They all seem to go to the Metro Arena. What about the Stadium of Light?

Finally, I would just like to say well done to everyone involved and well done to the fans for being well behaved.

Julie Cheal, Cranleigh Road, Hylton Castle

Wonderful race

HAVING taken part in the Sunderland Red Spotted Hankie 10k I would like to congratulate all involved with the running of the event. What a great day we had!

The course was challenging and picturesque. Having run the Bupa 10k in Sunderland twice before, I had no idea that Sunderland was such a beautiful city.

The marshalls did a fantastic job and were so encouraging on such a hot day, and as always the local support was second to none.

Well done Sunderland – and long may this event continue.

Anneli Ferrier, Station Town, County Durham

Route blunder

TOP marks to everyone who took part in the recent Sunderland run for charity. A marvellous effort.

No marks for the well-paid brain-dead planners who instead of using an area on one side of the river or the other chose to route the run across the main Sunderland arterial bridge on a busy and fine Sunday.

See me – you are all in detention!

Bernard Hope, Park Avenue, Roker, Sunderland

Jobless figures

YOUR paper’s half-hearted reporting of the fall in jobless figures, 8,000 in the North East being part of the biggest drop in the jobless total since 2000, was compounded by the section on women looking for work.

An increase of 21 of women in Sunderland looking for work is reported without explanation. However, comments reported in the nationals on the same day stated that the rise in women registered as looking for work was due to single parents with a youngest child aged seven being switched from income support to Jobseeker’s Allowance.

Tracy Young

Thanks for party

I WOULD like to say thank you to our three daughters, Patsy, Linda and Denise, for my 75th birthday family party.

Also brother Alan and sister Joan, Elaine and Rob.

Thank you to Jane and Shaun for the lovely fruit basket and other gifts received.

Not forgetting my grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Thank you again.

Love you all.

Mrs P. Foreman, Grangetown, Sunderland