Public sector walk out causes little disruption to lectures

by Rowena Caine

Despite a large protest today, most University lectures continued without disruption.

A large group of protesters gathered on Southfield Way, fighting to protect their pensions due to the government’s plans to cut off pension funds in order to pay for the deficit.

Although University officials were unable to provide an exact number of cancelled lectures, there were still minor interruptions throughout the day.

A second year English student said: “My lecture was cancelled today, but they sent out a list of special notes and instructions.”

A second year Modern Languages student added: “People were standing outside lecture halls giving leaflets and encouraging us not to go to our lectures.”

However, a Durham University spokesperson commented: “The University is not part of the public sector. The University Superannuation Scheme and our own occupational pension scheme are private sector pension schemes, and are therefore unaffected by the Government’s proposed public sector pension scheme reforms.

“The University is aware that its staff may be affected by action in support of public sector pensions on Wednesday which might, for example, affect the ability of staff to get to work or arrange child care.

“The University is therefore taking measures to minimise any disruption caused by this action with a high priority on preventing any impact on our students.

Roberta Blackman-Woods, Durham’s labour MP said: “Today’s strike is the result of a complete failure by the Tory-led Government to work with the public sector and draw up a fair and workable pensions deal.

“The Government is unfairly targeting public sector workers at a time when they are already facing a pay freeze, not to mention the biggest squeeze in living standards in a generation as a result of the Government’s mishandling of the UK economy.”

The strikes today have cost the economy an estimated £500m with 2.6 million public-sector workers refusing to go to work.

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