Strikes shut schools and cancel Kingston Hospital appointments
By Nub News Reporter
15th Mar 2023 | Local News
Many of the borough's schools are partially closed today – Wednesday - with thousands of youngsters studying at home.
Separately, London Underground is effectively shut down due to strike action leaving Kingston residents with considerably longer commute times if heading into central London for work.
At the same time, junior doctors are on day three of a strike that has disrupted treatment at local hospitals and urgent care centres – Kingston, Teddington and West Middlesex.
The mass strike action was designed to coincide with Budget Day and put pressure on the government to come up with pay rises that reverse several years of cuts in pay in relation to the rise in inflation.
Mary Bousted and Kevin Courtney, joint general secretaries of the National Education Union said: "We do not want to go on strike - we want to be in the classroom, teaching and supporting children and young people.
"It continues to be a regret that our members have to take strike action, but we know that parents and the public understand the gravity of the situation around school funding and teacher recruitment and retention.
"The NEU, as we have always stated, is prepared to enter talks at any point, and as and when through negotiation a reasonable offer from Government is made we will pause strike action while the offer is put to members.
"This is exactly what happened last week in Wales. Gillian Keegan (Education Secretary) needs to take a leaf out of the Welsh Government's book, stop playing politics and get down to serious negotiation."
In an open letter to parents, the Education Secretary said: "This industrial action will mean more disruption to children's education and to your lives too - whether that's work, arranging childcare or changing other plans.
"I am extremely disappointed that many young people will once again miss invaluable time learning with their teachers and friends, particularly after their education was significantly disrupted during the pandemic."
No trains are running on any London Underground lines due to a strike by drivers in Aslef and the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT).
In a letter to the London mayor, RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: "As you know, at this moment, London Underground managers are imposing new rosters across our Tube stations which are based on cutting 600 station staff jobs.
"In January, I wrote to you raising my serious concerns about the safety consequences of these cuts. Because they are now so short-staffed, managers appear to be mis-using waivers in order to override agreed minimum safe staffing levels at Tube stations."
Glynn Barton, Transport for London's chief operating officer, said: "Customers should check before they travel and we are advising them to expect very limited or no service."
The strike by junior doctors, which has led to cancelled appointments at local hospitals, is due to continue until 7am Thursday morning.