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Over 40 Schools to Close as GMB Members Strike

Over 750 classroom assistants taking industrial action in Brighton and Hove on Thursday 25 and Friday 26 November, meaning the closure of more than 40 of the 72 schools in the authority.

The strike is a result of a local authority proposal to reduce the number of weeks local classroom assistants are paid in an attempt to equalise pay, rather than offer a pay rise. GMB members voted 10 to one to take strike action, which will start at 08:00 on Thursday.

Brian Strutton, GMB National Secretary for Public Services, will address strikers at a rally in the city on Friday.

Brian Strutton said:

“Closing schools to make a point is not what GMB members are about. It shows the frustration that exists.

“The GMB believes this is the first time that a group of classroom assistants have taken action in this way. It’s not surprising, and may be the tip of an iceberg.

“Classrooms standing empty in Brighton will make the case eloquently that if classroom assistants are expected to take on a nationally agreed list of extra duties - and it is a hefty list inherited from teachers - then they should at least be afforded the respect of nationally agreed rates of pay. The current system benefits no-one.

“No amount of council rhetoric can detract from the result of the strike ballot. When you get a vote of 10 to 1 you can be sure that pay packets are being hit. They are small pay packets to start with.

“GMB classroom assistants make a huge contribution to education in this country. The GMB asks teachers and parents to support them.”

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