Public sector workers take to streets of Lambeth over pensions
Hundreds of striking Lambeth public sector workers have taken to the streets today to protest against the rise in pension contributions and raise of retirement age.
Members of the National Union of Teachers (NUT), Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL), University and College Union and the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) went on strike in a bitter row over the plans.
They gathered in Windrush Square, Brixton, this morning, where there was a rally, before joining other workers in central London for a lunchtime rally in Westminster.
Sara Tomlinson, joint secretary of the NUT and a primary teacher in Lambeth, said: “We’ve always known, for a long time, that their plan was to make us work longer, pay more and receive less in the end.
“We’ve been to parliament, lobbied our MPs, we’ve been camapaigning tirelessly against these changes, but nothing worked and the strike was the only option left.”
She added: “I think it’s a real shame Ed Miliband said what he said because he benefited a lot at the back of the trade unions.
“If he talked to teachers and other workers he would understand what this means to us.”
Ms Tomlison added that changes to contribution would translate into a loss of £110 a month for her.
Tom Whittaker, UCU joint branch secretary at Lambeth College, said: “We would like to see the government back down on the plans to raise the contributions and retirement age.
He added: “We need to see today as the beginning of a massive campaign to force the government back down on this issue and other cuts to the public sector.”
The 24-hour walk out has forced 46 schools out of 59 in Lambeth to close their doors.