Eastbourne schools likely to shut as teachers strike

SCHOOLS across Eastbourne look likely to close for a day as teachers strike against Government plans to slash their pensions.

Pupils and parents face a day of disruption on June 30 following a resounding vote from the country’s largest teaching union.

The National Union of Teachers has announced a day of action after 92 per cent of its members voted in favour of striking.

The union has said the proposed changes to teacher’s pension schemes will mean they have to pay more, work longer and receive less.

East Sussex County Council, which is responsible for education across the county, said it was “disappointed” with the decision to strike and that individual headteachers will decide if their schools are able to stay open.

A NUT statement said, “Many teachers are being asked to work until they are 68, while paying up to £100 more a month, this is as well as a two-year pay freeze that is seeing salaries fall further behind inflation.

“On top of this the value of pensions will decrease significantly as the government plans to move to an average salary scheme and has already started calculating increments on a lower inflation rate.

“All of this is being done despite the teacher’s pension’s scheme not being in any financial difficulty; in fact its cost is already reducing.”

Dave Brinson, a teacher at Ratton and an NUT executive member blamed the Government refusal to negotiate with teachers.

He said, “When teachers go on strike it means there is no other way.

“The government is refusing to even enter into meaningful negotiations, and have left hard working teachers no choice but to take action.”

Phil Clarke, the secretary of Lewes, Eastbourne and Wealden NUT said, “This is an overwhelming vote for action, and one that has been echoed across other unions who are planning to take joint strike action on June 30.

“The government is attacking our pensions not because they are unaffordable but because they want to reduce wages and conditions across the public sector in a race to the bottom with the private sector.”

A spokesman for East Sussex County Council said, “While we understand teachers’ concerns over the issue of pensions we are extremely disappointed union members have decided on this course of action.

“We do not believe disrupting the education of our children is the way to go about resolving this issue.”

Three other teaching unions will also take part in the strike and hundreds of schools are expected to close throughout Sussex.

A demonstration will take place in Brighton at 10.30am followed by at Friends meeting House in Brighton at 7:30pm.