The education of children in Waltham Forest will suffer unless the government removes the cap on public sector pay, workers claimed this morning as they staged a national one-day strike.
Dozens of members from six unions gathered in Walthamstow Town Square this morning chanting “Gove must go” and “Bills keep coming, rent won’t wait”, before heading to central for a mass demonstration.
In Walthamstow town square, representatives from the National Union of Teachers (NUT), Waltham Forest Trades Council, Unison and the Public and Commercial Services Union addressed crowds.
NUT secretary Steve White branded David Cameron a ‘hypocrite’ and Michael Gove a ‘liar’.
He reposnded to comments by the Prime Minister, who suggested he would tighten strike laws to make it requirement for more than 50 per cent of members to vote in favour of industrial action before a walk-out.
Mr White said: “It is utter hypocrisy. Not one MP in this land was voted in with more than a 50 per cent majority.
“The changes that this government are forcing through in education are unacceptable.
“It is unacceptable to link pay to performance, it is unacceptable to expect teachers to work until they are 68 and it is unacceptable to expect them to work 60-hour weeks.
“If the teachers are worn down – this will affect the education of their students.”
Activist Nancy Taaffe said that she 'unconditionally' backed the strike, claiming many ex- colleagues at the council are being made redundant due to cuts.
UNISON secretary Dave Knight spoke of an "historic" day as the unions joined together and said a one per cent pay offer was a 20 per cent cut in real terms.
He said: “We have carried the burden of this government with the public sector pay freeze,” he said.
“Today is probably not the end – it is the start of a movement where we will take on the government.”
The government says the vast majority of public sector workers did not vote in favour of today’s strike.
It insists it has had to make difficult decisions in order to cut the deficit and grow the economy.