Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Pension protests across Hampshire

Striking workers on a picket line in Southampton on Thursday
Image caption Public sector workers on strike in Southampton

A rally has been held in Portsmouth as teachers, court staff and coastguards protested about future pension changes.

Hundreds of children were affected as more than half of Portsmouth schools and two-thirds of Isle of Wight and Southampton schools were disrupted.

Action was taken by the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) over changes to teachers' pension schemes.

Hampshire County Council's deputy leader voiced concerns at the strikes.

Conservative councillor Roy Perry said he hoped the action would not lead to "widespread disruption to pupils' education".

Al Cave, of the Hampshire NUT, said: "We're a moderate profession we don't take industrial action lightly, it's our last resort, however in this case 40% of our members really do feel angry about what's being put in front of them."

'Damage learning'

Local nurseries also reported that they were full up as working parents struggled to find childcare.

Dianne Bunday, of Tops Day Nursery, in Cosham, said: "We've got to capacity, we had about 15 calls regarding childcare so it ended up being capped, I just didn't expect so many phone calls."

The Department for Education has criticised the strike, saying it would "damage pupils' learning and inconvenience their busy, working parents".

Teacher, Sarah Randall from Fernhurst Junior School, Southsea said: "It's going to affect us so much in the future, that we haven't really got a choice. I think one day isn't going to damage their education."

Image caption Ongoing strike action by Southampton City Council refuse workers has left rubbish piling up in streets

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) said strike action could affect the Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre (MRCC) in Hampshire at Lee-on-Solent.

Spokesperson Fred Caygill said: "We do have contingency plans in place to ensure that we can provide a continued service to the public."

The public sector strike comes amid a separate dispute from city council workers. Binmen, street cleaners, librarians, toll collectors and parking attendants began ongoing rolling action in May over proposed changes to their contracts.

Southampton Airport bosses said the strikes will not delay passengers.

However, travellers have been warned to expect delays on arrival at UK ports and airports as hundreds of immigration and customs officers walked out.

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