National unions took the streets in protest yesterday, in a strike that saw teachers and education workers, court workers, police support staff and civil servants stage a one-day walk-out.
The PCS union, with a membership of nearly 300,000 people, joined with teaching unions in a strike over pension and pay changes.
Workers believe they are being unfairly targeted by the Conservative government’s austerity cuts, in that they will have to work longer for smaller pensions and receive what is a ‘real-terms’ pay cut in the form of pay freezes.
MM took the streets as well, to ask the discerning citizens of Manchester:
Were the teachers right to strike?
|Yes, but the practicalities annoyed me!|
Naomi Faulkner, 19, student, city centre.
“Well, honestly, I’m barely in the workforce as it is and it’s got me worried already. They wouldn’t be striking if it wasn’t important.”
Richard Larriman, 43, trader, Eccles.
“The negotiations were still ongoing. They should have been completed before any strikes took place. Respect the process.”
Jane Markie, 38, teaching assistant, Fallowfield.
“My union was supporting the strikes, but we weren’t balloted, so I didn’t go.”
Linda Williams, 39, shop assistant, Barnsley.
“I used to be in UNISON, and when the calls a strike, you strike. No questions.”
Pete Bellson, 26, plumber, Harpurhey.
“I’ve got two: A five-year-old and a seven-year-old. The strike meant I couldn’t work. If I don’t work, I don’t earn. I’m self-employed. They cost me a day’s pay.”
Jim Timpson, 57, parish councillor, Altrincham.
“The system is fair. More than fair. The system is generous.”
Ali Washid, 22, marketing officer, city centre.
“Work longer if you live longer. Seems fait to me. I don’t know; I can’t see the issue to be honest.”
Sarah Tulley, 31, stay-at-home parent, Didsbury.
“They’re in a union, if they’re being wrongly treated, they should strike. It’s why we have unions. It’s why we have strike law.”
David “Tosh” Toshman, 37, salesman, city centre.
“I’m with them, all the way. There’s no need to punish them. And my Mrs is a teacher, so…”
Grant Samson, 42, guitar teacher, Bury.
“Joining a union is one of the most important things a worker can do. I need my union to make sure I’m paid what I’m owed. Extend that idea out and you get what happened yesterday.”
Jenny Brockway, 21, service assistant, city centre.
“It just does my head in. You’d think if they sat down and got on with it, it would never have got to this in the first place.”
Phil Lyndham, 27, PR officer, Deansgate.
“Keeps things interesting, mate. Get’s the teachers wired up and keeps the government awake. Could be tasty.”
Clare Morris, 51, secretary, Oldham.
“They should not have called the strike before the negotiations had been concluded. There are laws covering it. They’ll all lose a day’s pay. Do it properly or not at all.”
Jennifer Hall, 30, primary school teacher on maternity leave, Levenshulme.
“We had a valid point to argue. But those anarchist and student types just turn up and make a mockery of everything.”
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