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Counting the cost of the teachers strikes

Thousands of schools will be hit by strike action next Tuesday (October 1st), but it isn’t just school children and parents who will feel the blow, according to a leading Midland businesswoman.

Michaela Powell, MD of Birmingham-based education recruitment consultancy Aspire People, has estimated that the one-day strike will cost her business as much as &pound27,000.

The consultancy, which recruits for every local authority in the Midlands, places around 100 members of staff each day in West Midland schools, with roles varying from supply teachers to admin and support personnel.

With the two biggest teaching unions, the NUT and NASUWT, set to strike in response to government policy on pay, pensions and workloads, Aspire People will effectively be out of business for the day. By law, supply teachers, who make up the bulk of Aspire People’s client roster, cannot be instructed to replace teachers during strike action.

Speaking of the impact Michaela said: “We recruit both permanent and temporary teaching staff, so can sympathise with those who feel frustrated by the government’s tough stance towards changing pay and conditions but the fallout of strike action doesn’t just hit the pockets of the schools there are financial repercussions for suppliers, parents and other employers in the region too.

“Working parents will be forced to cover the costs of childcare at a cost of around &pound40 per child. Failing that they will have to take the day off work, which could leave businesses in the region understaffed. From our perspective, the business is losing a whole day’s work, yet my staff’s wages still need to be paid.”

Adam Burns, a supply teacher from Wolverhampton who will be forced to sacrifice a day’s income, said: “I’ll be losing out on a day’s wages, but I really feel for hard working families, as they too will be losing out one way or another.

“Imagine the effect on our economy if everybody in Britain had to take the day off? Many of my friends are having to make alternative arrangements for their children, with most having to pay for it. The financial disruption of strike action goes far beyond the teacher’s pay packet, which is a great shame.”


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