Readers give mixed response to Sunderland teachers going on strike in dispute over pay and funding
There has been a mixed reaction from readers following this week’s teachers’ strike.
Teachers across Sunderland withdrew their labour on February 1 as a “last resort” after what they described as a decade of under-funding from the Government which the National Education Union said has resulted in lager class sizes, teachers teaching subjects in which they are not qualified and large numbers of experienced and recently qualified teachers leaving the profession.
Sunderland’s teachers were part of a 150,000-strong national movement demanding a “fully funded” pay increase inline with inflation and increased funding for schools.
Speaking from the picket line outside Southmoor Academy, PE teacher and NEU representative David Below, 33, said: "The short term disruption of taking this action will hopefully lead to huge benefits in improving children’s education in the future.
"The Government need to give schools the funding they deserve.”
Many readers responding on social media were in support of the NEU’s stance. Here’s a flavour of what people said.
Trish Dutton: “I fully support them 100%. I have three teachers in my family and I witness their very long hours, excessive workload and stress caused by unreasonable demands.”
Lee Christian: “No wonder so many leave the profession within five years or even less after qualifying, especially when their pay has been reduced by £6,600 in real terms since 2010. Not to mention the disrespect they get on top of being overworked and underpaid.”
Christine Casey: “Teachers do not leave school premises and turn off. The amount of unpaid work they do is huge. I support them.”
Eileen Joyce: “Yes I do support them and all strikers. My daughter and son-in-law are both teachers. It's not like some think that they start at nine and finish at three. It's absolutely not like that at all.”
Nicola Jane: “My son is sitting exams this year and my niece is a teacher. I fully support teachers. She doesn't go home when the school bell rings, she's lucky if she leaves at 6pm. Then she continues to work when she gets home and then back to school for 7am. I stand with every single person, whether they are teacher's or not, who choose to strike,”
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However, after two years of disruption to children’s education due to the Covid pandemic, there were also readers who were against the teachers’ decision to strike, with the action resulting in the full and partial closure of the city’s schools, causing further disruption.
Rob Trewick: “Just had two years working from home. Shocking, they are well paid for what they do.”
Paul Lewis: “Nothing to do with the children’s education, it’s about lining their pockets. I’d have more respect if they were honest about it.”
Darren Frankland: “Absolutely not. The sooner the laws are changed to ban strikes the better. Ridiculous.”
George Conlon: “Last resort to improve children's education? I think not, we are all affected by inflation.”
Paul Bulmer: “Who is going to pay for all these pay rises? Most people cannot go on strike, they just get on with it and try to manage.”
John Hamilton: “Strikes are going to ruin the UK at a time when we all should stand together to stop inflation. Yes, the war in Ukraine cost us a lot money, but the Government can't afford to please everyone.”