Threat of more strikes over London allowance

29th November 2002 at 00:00
FURTHER industrial action is planned in London following the one-day strike this week which closed more than half the city's schools.

More than 1,250 schools were shut during the strike on Tuesday by teachers calling for a doubling of the London allowance.

They received surprise support from Professor Tim Brighouse, who will become the first London Schools Commissioner in January. He said the teachers' allowance should at least match the pound;6,000 given to police officers.

But education minister Stephen Twigg, who is to work alongside Professor Brighouse on improving the capital's schools, said an increased allowance would make little difference and that there were other ways to tackle the problem of unaffordable housing.

In all 4,600 schools were affected, with some members of staff taking action, in London and nearby counties, including Surrey and Essex.

Members of the National Union of Teachers, who held a one-day strike over London weighting in March, were this time joined by the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers, as well as classroom assistants and other school staff from public-services union Unison.

The independent School Teachers Review Body will make recommendations on the pay and conditions for London teachers in January. Doug McAvoy, NUT general secretary, said that longer industrial action was likely next year if the union was not satisfied by the review body's proposals.

He said the next time the union balloted for a strike it would offer members a menu of options, possibly including a series of strikes, half-day stoppages and two-day strikes in specific areas.

An estimated 8,000 people took part in a protest march and rally in London, accompanied by a jazz band. More than a dozen striking firefighters joined the march in solidarity.

Newly-qualified teacher Chrissy Hadjiloizou, 22, of William Tyndale primary, Camden, said she still lived with her parents because accommodation was unaffordable. "One of our classes has had nine different teachers, who all left because of the cost of living," she said.

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