THE VAST majority of schools in Shetland will be closed next Wednesday as teachers join their colleagues and fellow public sector workers across the UK in a day of industrial action.
The strike is in protest at the government’s plans to change public sector pension schemes, which would result in real term pay cuts of more than eight per cent, teachers’ union EIS said.
Other public sector unions will also be taking action on 30 November which is likely to affect council and health board services.
Local EIS secretary Bernie Cranie said teachers did not want to strike but felt they were being forced to take action.
“This will be the first national strike action by teachers and lecturers for a quarter of a century.
“We have been driven to this by continuing cuts to public services and sustained attacks on the living standards of public sector workers,” he said.
Mr Cranie hoped that parents, students and the wider community in Shetland would understand that this action was their last resort.
“The latest government attack – on pension provision – would force all teachers and lecturers to pay more, work longer, and get less in the end for their pension. One effect for all teachers would be an average 3.2 per cent cut in their pay due to increased employee pension contributions.
“We are taking this day of action in defence of public services and those who work in these services.
“We believe that our schools, colleges and universities and our pupils and students deserve the best. But this cannot be delivered on the cheap; there must be proper investment in our public services and fair pay and conditions, including pensions, for the public sector workers who deliver them.”