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Gloucestershire Business News

Walkout Wednesday: Businesses and families hit by strikes

Up to half a million workers are walking out today in the biggest day of strikes for years.

Teachers, train drivers, airport and university staff and civil servants are all going on strike in what's expected to be the biggest day of industrial action in a decade.

And the impact is being felt on Gloucestershire's schoolchildren, their families and local businesses alike.

Thousands of schools are expected to be closed as teachers in England and Wales walk out over pay.

Steve Gardner-Collins, director and chair of Visit Gloucestershire, said: "Along with all public sector strikes we've seen over the last six months, they have caused lots of disruption and lots of uncertainty.

"Whilst there is no doubt that these are much needed, everyone deserves to earn a decent wage, today we see the beginning of the impacts on our children's education, with so much disruption to education over the last few years, our children desperately need certainty and consistency.

"For hospitality businesses we see struggles for working parents and impacts to service delivery. Families will be out and about together and hopefully will frequent the high street, spending some valuable time together and some much needed money."

Education Secretary Gillian Keegan had said that most schools will be open today, even if there are some changes to the usual school day as a result of fewer staff.

She told the BBC that it's not realistic to look at "inflation-busting pay rises" for teachers

However, the NEU told the BBC that 85% of schools would be fully or partially closed, based on a snapshot sample of 8,000 NEU school representatives and volunteers.

Some 15% said that their school or college would be fully open for staff and pupils.

The union also estimates there are more than 150,000 members striking. According to the Department for Education, there are more than half a million teachers in state-funded nursery, primary, secondary and special schools in total.

Labour's deputy leader Angela Rayner accused the government of deliberately stoking the conflict

Punchline says: "The teachers' strike is a very different thing to the other strikes. The hospital strike affects you if you are ill, so the big proportion of people are not affected. But the thing about the teachers is that it affects the vast majority of people and businesses. It's an escalation of industrial action in the public sector.

"You can decide not to go by train, you can decide not to post by Royal Mail, but when a pupil is off, parents don't turn up for work, they have to look after their children. There's a massive financial impact on businesses and for the people who can't go to work. so it hurts everybody.

"Whether you agree on it is not the question and it's not for us to say. This is the impact on business people. In a time of reall financial crisis it's another nail in the coffin for a lot of companies."

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