Frustration over teacher strike in Gloucestershire today
AS the school gates slam shut across the county today the knock on financial effect is being firmly felt by families and businesses.
Striking teachers have dominated the chatter among parents this week as the cost of extra childcare or days off work is totted up.
Well over 100 schools, including 25 in Gloucester, were fully or partially closed this morning.
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Teachers are unhappy at changes to working conditions which will see them pay more into pension schemes and receive less on retirement.
Speaking as a mum, city councillor Jennie Dallimore said many parents are unhappy with the disruption caused by the strike.
"I have two children who will be without teachers today at Linden Primary School because of the strike action," she said.
"Like many parents, I'm not very happy about it.
"I respect a teacher's right to strike, but there are better ways to negotiate changes to pensions and working conditions.
"I have had to pay £75 to pay for childcare so I can continue in my job to serve the city.
"It is not cheap and it does have an impact on parents."
One parent, who wished to stay anonymous, said they thought the striking unnecessary.
"Has anyone thought of the cost of all the downtime caused to businesses?" they said.
"Most of us are lucky if we get more than 20 days holiday, statutory pensions and will all have to work into our seventies too, so there is little sympathy for teachers on that count.
"I want my children to have the best education possible.
"I'm grateful for the education they receive and want teachers to be treated accordingly.
"But if there are issues that need addressing I cannot help but feel striking isn't the best way of dealing with them.
"I don't believe the Government will take more notice because of it either.
"Maybe I'm wrong and simply ill informed, but that's the way I and lots of other working parents see it."
Helen Roberts, a business adviser who runs a blossoming cafe in Longlevens, said: "We have had lots of parents and teachers into the cafe this week and the topic of the strike has not been far from the conversation.
"Parents have a real gripe about the inconvenience of having to find extra childcare or to take the day off work.
"Some are saying teachers have enough time off as it is and should not be striking in term time, but teachers do work hard."
John Pemberthy, branch secretary of the NUT in Gloucestershire, could not be reached yesterday. Previously, he has said: "Strike action is never a step that teachers take lightly and we are very aware and concerned about the inconvenience it causes parents.
"Unfortunately, we are faced with a coalition government which is refusing to listen to the reasonable demands of the profession."
The Gloucester Citizen approached several schools and teachers for comment yesterday but all declined to speak.
For the most up-to-date information and to follow the strike, log on to gloucestercitizen.co.uk/education