Teachers in Brazil's largest state, Sao Paulo, have voted to continue their strike into a third month. The teachers are campaigning for decent pay and for an end to the underfunding of education which has seen classrooms bursting at the seams. As one primary school teacher told the press, 'We were promised that we would be paid as much as other public employees, and it just hasn't happened. And overcrowding has become unbearable. They have to invest in us, and the children.' Teachers are demanding a class size limit of 25.

Thousands poured onto the streets of the capital after the vote was taken to prolong the strike. Teachers in several other Brazilian states have also been on strike, including in Parana, where violent police action last month caused 300 injuries to teachers, action which itself caused outrage throughout Brazil.

The failure to fund education properly is a direct result of the austerity measures being pursued by the federal finance minister Joaquim Levy, which are opposed by many in his own party, as well as a large part of the population. However the austerity drive is being demanded and advocated by banks and creditors, like Alberto Ramos, an economist at mega bank Goldman Sachs, who said, 'The cuts themselves will be deeper and longer-lasting. It will likely be a "three-year process" to bring the primary surplus - its budget balance minus debt interest payments - back to 3 percent of gross domestic product, the level (which) is needed to stop Brazil's gross debt from rising further.'

So the same prescription is being followed in Brazil as in so many other countries - slash public spending, on which the majority depend, to keep the international financiers happy. And as in so many countries, teachers are in the forefront of the struggle against such attacks.