Voice of Lincoln: Few agree teachers’ strike

Teachers took to the streets on Thursday to join a national protest against the planned changes to public sector pensions, which will include an extended retirement age and higher personal pay ins.

We asked Lincolnites for their opinions on the strike, to which they showed little support:

Lesley and Craig Hall

Craig Hall (39) Lincoln, self-employed telecom engineer

“I don’t agree with it at all. Strikes have never really solved anything in the past. The whole country is going through an economic struggle at the minute. I’ve always worked in the private sector. I’ve had to sort my own pension out. I’ve taken pay cuts this year. I’m not on strike; I’ve still got to go to work. They’re well out of order striking.

“I also think that the government has handled it really badly. Their cuts have been too heavy, without a doubt. They’re handling the negotiations with the teachers badly. The government are just as much to blame.”

Lesley Hall (35) Lincoln, nurse

“I’m a nurse and I don’t agree with it. You don’t see doctors or nurses on strike. I don’t think it solves anything. I think all it does is cause propaganda and arguments.

“It affects everybody who has children. We have children and fortunately our school hasn’t gone on strike which we totally appreciate. But I don’t agree with it. I put into my pension every month, and I appreciate that I do get a pension at the end of my thirty years and I’m grateful for that, but I think it’s become a very greedy nature. And in the long term what does it show [children]?”

Caroline Strathon

Caroline Strathon (38) Lincoln, unemployed

“I think it’s just the climate at the moment. Everyone’s having to face cuts. Teachers obviously feel strongly about theirs, along with lots of other people. I think that they’ve got to get their voices heard somehow but I don’t think it will have any effect, not with the current government.

“I think a lot of people would like to go out on strike but not everybody has the opportunity, not everyone has unions. I was a legal assistant and we didn’t have a union and I was made redundant. It’s difficult.”

Shelley and Lee Seville

Lee Seville (30) Scampton, Royal Air Force

“I think it’s disgusting. With the things that [the forces] go out and do, [the government’s] still messing with our pensions and we’re not striking. If [teachers] think they’ve got things bad, they want to get themselves out to Afghanistan.

“In this day and age you’ve got to take the rough with the smooth. We’ve got troops going out with not enough equipment, the wrong equipment, stuff that’s falling apart. And they’re whinging, they’re still living the life of luxury, they’ve got holidays. There’s nothing we can do about it.”

Shelley Seville (29) Scampton

“Everyone’s taken a bit of a cut in everything. If anyone should be going on these strikes really it should be the people with problems like the forces. It seems to be the forces that get the other end of it.

“I think when the money goes up, when we do start to see a difference and everything starts to go back up again, hopefully it will make it easier for everyone else, but at the moment everyone’s suffering.”

Andy Marley

Andy Marley (55) Lincoln, Chair, University of Lincoln Branch of UCU

“We’re protesting about the planned changes to our pension scheme, because at the moment the scheme actually is solvent. It’s paid for by member and employer contributions.

“We’re seeking not to intimidate people; we’re seeking to talk to people and actually try and break some of the normal media feelings that the tax payer is paying because the tax payer isn’t paying, we’re paying.

“[The government] is looking for us to work longer, pay more in and get less out.”