Six more centres added to over 70 schools hit by day of union action

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SIX Doncaster Council run centres were last night added to list of facilities closing due to strikes today.

The adult social education centres at Thorne, Conisbrough, Mexborough and Hayfield will be closed, as well the Glebe House and Askarne old people’s day centres.

Their closure is in addition to 56 schools, as two teachers unions and Doncaster Council’s branch of the union Unison walked out.

Another 21 schools are partially closed, according the council.

The NUT and ATL teaching unions are striking over changes to their pensions, while Unison is walking out over job losses and reductions in pay and conditions.

The council’s education boss was keen to minimise any disruption to schools.

Director of the children’s services, Chris Pratt, said: “It is a matter for individual schools how they manage any strike action from teachers. We have offered guidance to schools and we are keen to minimise disruption to children’s education.”

Teachers are due to take their protest over pensions to the streets this morning, with a march to the Mansion House setting off from the council’s offices at 10am, followed by an 11am Mansion House rally.

NUT Doncaster divisional secretary John Coward said there were no plans for picket lines at schools. But Unison was planning picket lines at council offices and depots across the borough, including the North Bridge Depot, Council House, the Colonnades, and Unity House. Other public servants who are not on strike were also planning their own demonstrations in support of the action.

Unison’s Doncaster branch secretary Jim Board said the strike was about saving services as well as jobs and conditions.

He said: “There may be inconvenience caused for a day, but we are fighting to save services that the public rely on. If we don’t make a stand they will be reduced.”

Doncaster Council’s chief executive Rob Vincent said of the Unison strike: “I am disappointed with the outcome but we will continue to meet with unions and discuss the areas of the proposed changes over which they have expressed concern.

“We have already made a good start in making necessary budget reductions, but recognise there is still a lot more that needs to be done. We will continue to consult with staff and negotiate with unions as we look to firm up our proposals.”