AROUND 1,500 teachers and civil servants marched through Sheffield in protest at the Government’s proposed pension cuts.
In a cheerful, upbeat demonstration, with singing, chanting and speeches, public sector workers made clear their determination to stop the Coalition Government passing reforms which will hit their pension funds hard.
Teacher and NUT representative Lisa Tunnell told the crowd during a rally at Barker’s Pool: “The Government’s pay freezes and proposed cuts to pensions have already forced many to consider leaving the profession.
“I believe it is unfair to damage our education system by driving good teachers away. People can no longer afford to choose this as a profession.”
The 28-year-old added: “I stand to lose about £200,000 of my own money from my pension over my lifetime.
“I did not cause the financial crisis, neither did the children at my school. This is unfair.”
The rally was backed by students and school pupils.
Sheffield sixth-former Chris Norton said: “It’s important that teachers and students work together. The Coalition is decimating our public services.”
As the demonstration set off down The Moor and back along Charter Row, Longley Park Sixth Form teacher Duncan Blackie told The Star: “We stand to lose a fortune if they cut our pensions.”
The march was supported by members of unions not taking part in the strike.
Unite regional officer Chris Weldon said many union members had refused to cross picket lines - including teaching assistants and workers at the Sheffield Department for Work and Pensions, Home Office and Department for Business Innovation and Skills.
“I’m really pleased so many have come out today and not crossed the picket lines,” he said.
“It’s a great turnout.”
Most Jobcentres in South Yorkshire managed to stay open throughout the day, despite a high number of PCS members on strike.
Only two offices closed - one in Dinnington, Rotherham and one in Goldthorpe, Barnsley.