Bristol strike: Hundreds of workers march in city

Hundreds of public sector workers have taken part in a march in Bristol over proposed pension changes.

More than 200 schools in the city were affected by strike action while some civil servants are also taking action.

BBC reporter Robin Markwell said the protest moved "very slowly" causing traffic disruption in the city centre.

Police estimate more than 1,000 people took part in the march but the National Union of Teachers (NUT) disputed the claim and said the figure was 5,000.

In Bristol, the council said 90 schools were affected because of action by the NUT and the Association of Teachers and Lecturers.

In Bath and North East Somerset, 46 of 100 schools are affected.

In North Somerset, 38 schools out of 72 are closed or partially-closed by action, while South Gloucestershire said 45 were affected.

Lucy Johnson, a newly-qualified teacher in Bristol, said the changes would take a large slice of her wages.

"I would be looking at a rise that would take my pension up to around about £200 a month.

"For someone who takes home around £1,200 a month that is a lot of money."

'Reluctant' action

Bristol City Council said the decision to close had been made by schools, individually, but said it was not aware any that other services would be affected by the strike.

NUT spokeswoman Nina Franklin said they were "reluctant" to take action but felt they had to.

The University of the West of England said the strike would not cause them major problems.

"As teaching has finished for the summer term in most subjects, it is anticipated that students will be largely unaffected."

Member of the Public and Commercial Services Union also took part in strike action.

Three out of 10 courts were running at Bristol Crown Court but it was business as normal at Bristol Magistrates Court.

Central Bristol Job Centre Plus operated a reduced service and forced to close at lunchtime.

Seven driving tests were cancelled as Southmead and Kingswood driving test centres were forced to close. Driving test centres in Brislington and Weston-super-Mare were unaffected.

No disruption was reported at Bristol Airport.

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