Mums lash out at Gove over strike support appeal

The ladies aren't for crossing picket lines: Gove's request for parental support fall on deaf ears.
The ladies aren't for crossing picket lines Gove's request for parental support fall on deaf ears.:

By Ian Dunt

Mums have hit out at a request for them to fill in for teachers during this week's impending industrial action.

Education secretary Michael Gove called on parents to step in when teachers go on strike over their pensions on Thursday, but users of the website Mumsnet made their views plain in page after page of attacks on the Cabinet minister.

"Even if I wasn't at work anyway I wouldn't do this," one user wrote. "I support their right to decent terms and conditions and I would not undermine the strike by getting together with other parents to keep the school open. No teachers, no school."


Another wrote: "It should totally go ahead. Then on Friday the streets will be full of parents demonstrating for the teachers as they will finally realise what a hard job it is."

Thursday's strike, which is being organised by the National Union of Teachers (NUT) and the usually conservative Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL), is shaping up to be a pivotal test of government efforts to enforce new pensions provisions in the public sector.

Teachers are strongly opposed to plans to make them work until they are 66, pay more into their contributions and switch the indexing of their pensions from retail price index inflation to consumer price index inflation.

As the strike neared, Mr Gove's comments appealing to parents to cross the picket line and ensure schools keep operating was met with dismay by union leaders and many parents themselves.

"Obviously, it's a terrible idea," one Mumsnet user wrote. "But the kinds of parents who'd go for it could do with a nice cold dose of the reality of teaching. Hopefully, with the bottom set in an inner-city comp."

Another added: "This is a very effective tactic. He is deliberately reinforcing the prejudice that teachers are babysitters."

Thursday could be a record day for industrial action in the UK and a portent of things to come, as a simultaneous Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union strike takes the total number of public sector workers poised to walk out to 750,000.

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