Strikes: Manchester teachers rally in bid for fairer pay 

Today marked the first of seven days planned industrial action by the National Education Union (NEU) with high numbers turning out to campaign for a pay rise.

The government announced last year that most teaching staff were to receive an estimated 5% pay boost, but NEU members rejected this and have since decided on strike action. 

Liz, a secondary school teacher in North Manchester, expressed the struggles teachers are facing, within the already turbulent cost of living crisis.

She said: “We are the only profession that creates all other professions and I think it’s only fair that we are paid to represent that. 

“Ultimately, this is all about the children and that comes through massively in what you can see here today. 

“I think we are at a tricky turning point within our society and I think everybody feels the passion for the causes and I’m certainly here on both parts.” 

Protester sign – Image by Natasha Judge

After a congregated rally at St Peters Square, teachers and supporters alike voiced their opinions and marched around Piccadilly Gardens, gaining support and solidarity from many. Chants for fairer pay and better school conditions were echoed throughout the city. 

Staff, students and families from schools, colleges and universities around the country have taken part within the pay protest. Different institutions faced different levels of disruption, dependent on the level of union membership.

People are encouraged to check with their own education provider to see the latest decisions made as a result of the upcoming strikes.

Protesters at St Peters Square, Manchester – Image by Natasha Judge

Alongside the highly populated teacher strikes, there were many people from a range of unions protesting the proposed Public Order Bill – a parliamentary bill which aims to give police more power in managing protests.  

Several trade unions took part within the protest and march, including the University and College Union (UCC) and transportation and civil service workers.  

Tameside primary school teacher, Amanda, stated the Public Order Bill is “absolutely shocking”. She said: “We are supposed to live in a democratic society and it’s going to end up not being one at this rate. It can’t be allowed to go through.” 

Teacher Protesting at St Peter’s Square – Image by Natasha Judge

With the first of many strike days complete with a powerful turnout, they are expected to continue until demands are met. For further information on school strikes within your area, visit the NEU website and for more information on NEU movement in Manchester, visit here.

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