Borders schools close due to strike action

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BORDERS pupils will get an extra day off school and there may be disruption to other council services next Wednesday as staff take part in national strike action over the Government’s proposed pension changes.

Councillor Alec Nicol, depute leader of Scottish Borders Council, said: “The council recognises that the UK Government’s plan to change pensions is a complex and emotive issue which we understand will be causing anxiety among our staff.

“We believe trades unions and the UK Government need to work together to identify a fair and equitable solution to end this dispute.

“In acknowledging that staff have decided to take industrial action to protest against proposed changes to pensions, we would hope that essential services could be maintained and that there will be no adverse impact on our most vulnerable residents.

“A number of teachers are expected to join the industrial action and having considered the safety and practical implications of this on Borders children, parents and staff, it will be necessary to close schools for all pupils on Wednesday, November 30. Further details on how this will be managed will be communicated in due course.”

It is the first strike in Scottish schools for almost 25 years.

Education Secretary Mike Russell said striking was “not in the best interest of pupils or parents”.

However, EIS members voted overwhelmingly for the move, saying their patience had been exhausted by a pay freeze, budget cuts and proposed changes to pensions.

More than 82% of EIS members voted to strike on a 54% turnout.

EIS general secretary Ronnie Smith, said: “Faced with a wide ranging attack on their pensions, on top of a two-year pay freeze, rampant inflation and education budget cuts, our members are signalling that ‘enough is enough’.

Further information is available on the council’s website and Twitter feed @scotborders over the next week.