Bloody teachers! My kids have only been back at school for three days after their end of term holiday and they’re off again! No, it’s not another teacher-training day. It’s a strike. Yes, a real-life proper strike. How retro does that seem? Remember those glorious days of industrial action and picket lines and angry workers shoving placards into car windows and shouting things like scab! scab! at anyone who crossed the picket line . . . days of trade-union power and militant solidarity and passionate working class heroes?
Of course there have been strikes since then – Thatcher didn’t totally kill off the will of the people but it wasn’t quite like that today. Although there were some picket lines and marches and stuff, most of the striking teachers I know just stayed home. And let’s be honest, their grievances are namby-pamby compared to the lot of the miners and the dockworkers and so on in those grim days of hardliners such as Arthur (King Coal) Scargill and that pit-closing, union-busting nemesis of compassion, Margaret Thatcher.
But seriously, that’s not to say I don’t support the teachers in their dispute. They, like many other workers, deserve a fair living wage and I’m all for fighting back against this government and its bias towards big business and the ruling classes. The rising cost of living is affecting us all and it’s frustrating to see Gordon Brown and his Labour government penalise the lower paid public sector workers and the poor yet continue to reward the wealthy and pander to big business. All those on or under the borderline are feeling the pinch and the lower paid workers are going to feel it even harder when they get their next pay packets due to that 10% tax thing. I’m not so sure there are teachers that are all that poor but they are undervalued which is just not good business sense if we want good teachers to educate and inspire our children. Personally speaking, I can’t help believing that there are some jobs whereby it just isn’t ethical to take strike action but that is exactly what the government exploits – our strong sense of moral duty towards those in our care, be they school-children or patients.
Anyway, today’s strike was a huge pain in the backside for me and I guess it was for many working mums. I had to leave my children to fend for themselves all morning because the NHS bosses wouldn’t let me have the day off – no, not even when I said it was to support my fellow-public sector workers. Bloody capitalists!
Because it was actually a school day on which, by rights, my children should be learning, the conscientious part of my brain (you know, the part that stops you from having fun) was telling me I should take take the kids to the museum when I finish work . . . or make them do homework or something as equally dull. So, I got home full of good intentions and my kids – free from adult restraint and with idle hands and mischievous minds – how did they spend their free morning? Why making a mess of course! A huge, humongous mother of a mess. Yes, in between the squabbling and the fighting they trashed the joint and I spent most of the day tidying up and peacekeeping.
So, after much consultation and with all due regret, as of today (and I am unanimous on this), I am on strike! A mothers strike. Anyone care to join me?