Striking teachers, firefighters and other public sector workers marched through the streets of Luton this afternoon in protest over pay and working conditions.
Around 150 people marched from Manor Park, down Park Street, Church Street, Guildford Street and through St George’s Square to Market Hill, where a number of speakers addressed the crowds.
Across the town many more teachers walked out– forcing the full closure of Chapel Street Nursery, Hillborough Junior, Bramingham Primary, Icknield Primary, Lady Zia Wernher, Norton Road Primary, Lea Manor High and Woodlands Secondary.
Most day centres were also closed due to the action.
Richard Howitt MEP defended teacher walkouts.
He told Luton News: “I’m a parent with two young children at school so my family is inconvenienced but I see that teaching assistants are being cost their jobs, that unqualified teachers are being brought in to replace qualified teachers and that fundraising needs to be done for basic essentials in schools.
“One day of inconvenience is nothing if we can win proper and fair investment in our schools and teachers.”
Luton North MP Kelvin Hopkins agreed that the action was needed.
He said: “There are bound to be people whose lives have been disrupted but the alternative to industrial action is to do nothing and have the government walk all over them (teachers).
“Everybody knows that industrial action is a last resort but to say that workers should never go on strike because they might upset someone is denying a basic freedom.”