Classrooms will remain empty in about a third of schools in Britain Thursday as teachers strike for better pay in what is the first protest of this kind in 21 years, the dpa reported.
The National Union of Teachers (NUT) estimates that some 8,000 schools in England and Wales will be closed or partially closed. Scotland is not affected.
The NUT is demanding an above-inflation pay rise of 4.1 per cent instead of the 2.45 per cent on offer. Teachers, especially in London, cite rising food prices and transport costs as the main reason for their demand.
"What we're saying to the government is, if you really do value teachers, then make sure that they're paid at least at the level of inflation," said the union's acting head, Christine Blower.
But the government argues that teachers have been better paid than other public sector employees and called their action "disruptive and irresponsible."