Strike: ‘We can only be pushed so far’

Dave Brinson (left) pictured at the most recent teachers' rally
Dave Brinson (left) pictured at the most recent teachers' rally

A TEACHER who has taught thousands of local children over a 10-year stretch has no regrets about going on strike.

Dave Brinson, who works at Ratton, is one of hundreds locally expected to down tools and join demonstrations against plans to implement controversial changes to public sector pensions.

The National Union of Teachers representative is one of a host of speakers who will take part in the town’s rally in Grand Parade and says he and his colleagues are doing the right thing in forcing schools to close for a day.

“There are a lot of people who have never been on strike before taking part today,” he said. “We are not a militant bunch but we can only be pushed so far.”

And he met head on suggestions that by taking industrial action, striking teachers were setting a bad example to local children.

“That is something I do not accept,” he told the Gazette. “I actually think we are setting a good example by standing up for something we believe in.

“We have received a lot of support. We have not been discussing it with pupils – although we have explained what a strike is – but a lot of the older children who have been following it in the news understand why we are doing it.

“And parents, even those who do not agree with us, realise we are not being listened to. Going on strike is not a decision we’ve taken lightly. There have only been three days of teaching strikes in the last 20 years.

“We have even told them [the Government] that if they can prove the pension situation needs us to pay more money we will do – but the Government is refusing to carry out a re-evaluation.”

Mr Brinson believes that re-evaluation is years overdue and would prove there is no need for such a hike in pension payments or the accompanied increase in the working life of public sector employees.

And he described the planned changes, which would see teachers work until their late sixties while paying extra into their pension pots, as little more than a secret tax.

He and his fellow union members are determined to make their voices heard, even if it means the town’s education suffers.

“We are expecting a lot of support,” he said. “We don’t know how many people yet will join in but we do know every school in Eastbourne will either be closed or partially closed.”