SCARBOROUGH is bracing itself for disruption after members of several unions voted overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action.
Teachers, lecturers, driving examiners, coastguards and other public sector workers are expected to carry out a series of co-ordinated strikes.
Civil servants will strike on June 30 – the same days as hundreds of teachers and lecturers. The move is in response to Government plans to make changes to the workers’ pension arrangements.
The Evening News spoke to people in Scarborough to get their views.
Kirsty Byers, a 27-year-old mother and accounts manager from North Leas Walk in Bridlington, said she did not agree because she feared that her daughter’s education would be affected.
She said: “They need to educate children and going on strike is not giving kids a chance. They should be doing this in other ways and not taking education away from the kids.
“No one should be going on strike it should be resolve before it gets to that stage.”
But former teacher Alison Watt, a 50-year-old playwright, of St Mary’s Walk, Scarborough, said that teaching was a hard “frontline” job. She said: “It is not just the teaching, or getting your subject over, there’s the pastoral care as well. You have to be aware of their needs – it’s a big responsibility.
“When comes to a strike a lot of the individuals probably don’t want to walk away from their responsibilities. It’s an act of desperation to acknowledge their needs. But I agree with it if the situation is extreme enough.”
Sheila Winship, a 79-year-old retired chargehand from Woodlands Vale, said that she did not agree with the Government’s decision to make changes to the pension arrangements.
She said: “I don’t think it’s right that the pensions should be messed about with. When you have worked hard and saved for a pension it should be what they said it would be. I don’t think the retirement age should be put up because teaching is a very hard job.
“I don’t think it will affect the children’s education very much because it is only one day provided their exams are finished. I’ve got great grandchildren at school and it is difficult for the parents if the schools are closed. I suppose if striking the only action they’ve got left then I sympathise with them.”
Adam Windsor, a 27-year-old shop worker from Avenue Road, agreed. He said: “I am all for people being able to go on strike and I think it’s awful that the Government are trying to restrict it. They are trying to mess with people’s pensions – if it’s something you’ve worked for all your working life you are entitled to it.”
Muhlis Olmez, a 44-year-old restaurant owner from Victoria Road, said that teachers needed more respect. He added: “You have to respect the teachers because education is the main thing in every country. If they’ve lost the respect of the younger generation then the country is finished.”
On Tuesday the National Union of Teachers announced that 92 per cent of its members had voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action with a turnout of 40 per cent.
And yesterday members of the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) followed suit with 61.1 per cent of those balloted voting in favour of strike action and 83.6 per cent in favour of action short of a strike.
The first day of action expected to take place on Thursday, June 30, with schools, colleges and buildings such as the Job Centre affected.
Christine Blower, general secretary of the NUT, said that there was no alternative but to support strike action. She added: “It is disgraceful that the Government is pressing ahead with its reforms which will affect teachers’ pensions. The Government knows that they are affordable. This is a policy which has nothing to do with economics and everything to do with politics.”
Mark Serwotka, the general secretary of the PCS, said every person in the country would feel the effects of the strikes. He added: “Schools will be shut, jobcentres will be closed, driving licences wont be issued, queues will form at ports and airports.
“Our action is not just about one day on 30 June. The ballot mandate from our members is we will take national strikes with other unions, and we believe this will be the first of a number of those.”