THE GOVERNMENT needs to negotiate with striking teachers and other public sector workers before further disruption is caused, Leigh's former MP has said.

On Wednesday, February 1, teachers in Leigh, Atherton, and Tyldesley joined thousands of their peers on picket lines across England and Wales, in a dispute over pay and working conditions.

Striking on the same day as university lecturers, civil servants, bus and train drivers, and security guards, it was the biggest day of industrial action in more than a decade.

Fighting for pay rises that match inflation and improved working conditions, nurses, paramedics, ambulance workers, firefighters, physiotherapists, midwives, and royal mail workers have also been out on strike in recent months.

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Leigh Journal: Teachers joined many other public sector workers who have gone out on strike recentlyTeachers joined many other public sector workers who have gone out on strike recently (Image: Leigh Constituency Labour Party)

While the government has been holding talks with unions and public sector workers, no resolution has been made so far and further industrial action is planned in the coming months.

In an effort to curb the disruption, MPs approved plans this week aimed at enforcing "minimum service levels" for some sectors during strikes.

Leigh MP James Grundy voted with the majority of the government to pass the bill, which could see employers issuing a "work notice" to unions to set out who is required to work during a strike.

Under the legislation, there would be no automatic protection from unfair dismissal for an employee who is told to work through a notice but chooses to strike.

Business Secretary Mr Shapps claimed the Bill was “simply proposing to protect people’s lives and to protect people’s livelihoods”.

In a short speech in the House of Commons, the MP said: “We move this debate this evening and this third reading because we care about people in our workforce, because we care about their livelihoods and because we care about our constituents and their ability to access vital services.”

The bill is currently facing scrutiny in the House of Lords before it becomes law.

Resolution needed to avoid further disruption, says former MP

Leigh Journal: Jo Platt is the current Labour candidate for LeighJo Platt is the current Labour candidate for Leigh (Image: Jo Platt)

On the picket line with teachers outside Fred Longworth High School this week, Leigh's former MP said "overworked and overstretched" teachers are striking as a last resort to fix the issues facing the education sector.

She added the government must come to a resolution with striking workers to avoid further disruption.

Jo Platt, who is the current Labour candidate for the next general election, said: "The past few months has seen the greatest strike disruption in decades, with rail workers, ambulance workers, nurses and now teachers taking unprecedented industrial action.

"The responsibility for the disruption to children’s learning lies solely with the Conservative Government and their failure to get around the negotiating table. Their failed scorched-earth approach to industrial action has only made things worse.

"Not one of the teachers I spoke to on the picket line on Wednesday wanted to strike.

"No one wants children’s learning to be disrupted but after 13 years of underfunding by this Conservative Government, teachers are overworked, overstretched and can see firsthand the detrimental effect this is having on our children’s education.

"Instead of focusing on an Anti-Strike Bill, the Conservatives need to negotiate with our teachers and other vital services, to fix the mess they have created.

"If they continue to fail to do that, they need to step aside and let people vote for a government that will."

Conservative MP for Leigh James Grundy has been approached for a comment regarding public sector strikes and the Government's Strike Bill.