Page last updated at 20:00 GMT, Thursday, 24 April 2008 21:00 UK

About 450 schools hit by strikes

Rally at Victoria Square in Birmingham

About 450 schools across the West Midlands were shut or partially closed as a result of a teachers' strike.

The pay strike by the National Union of Teachers (NUT) on Thursday coincided with a second day of industrial action by Birmingham City Council workers.

It meant a total of 164 schools were closed and 84 schools partially closed in the city with some other services also affected, the council said.

Nearly 200 schools in the Black Country were hit by the NUT strike.

The one-day strike by the NUT over a 2.45% pay offer affected about a third of schools across England and Wales.

A lunchtime rally by NUT members and striking council workers was held in Birmingham's Victoria Square.

COUNCIL PAY DISPUTE
Birmingham City Council is Europe's largest local authority
Unions claim about half of its 41,000 employees will strike on Wednesday and Thursday
The council says 9,500 went on strike in February
It says 48% of staff will get a pay increase, 40% will see no change and 12% will have their pay cut
Unions claim an average bin man's yearly earnings will be cut from 30,000 to 20,000
Other workers' pay could increase by 6,000, says the council
A care assistant's annual pay will stay at about 14,000

Dudley Borough Council said 68 schools in its area were closed or partially closed on Thursday.

More than 60 schools have been affected in the area covered by Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council, including 54 primary schools.

Walsall Council said 32 primary schools and four secondary schools were closed.

In Wolverhampton, four schools were closed and nearly 30 others faced partial closures as a result of the NUT strike.

Meanwhile, in Solihull, four secondary schools shut, while seven others faced disruption. Two of the town's primary schools were closed, while 15 others were also affected.

Nearly half of Birmingham's refuse collections have been disrupted by the council workers' strike, a council spokeswoman said.

People in Sutton Coldfield were told not to expect a collection but to put their rubbish out on Saturday.

Unions representing council workers began their two-day strike on Wednesday over the new pay and grading structure.

They have said it could cut some people's pay by half, but the council has said it will result in 48% getting rises.

The council has said plans were in place to ensure all emergency and critical services were maintained and "every effort" would be made to keep as many services and buildings open as possible.




SEE ALSO
More council strike dates planned
31 Mar 08 |  West Midlands
New offer in council pay dispute
12 Mar 08 |  West Midlands

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