I’ve just returned home from the Union march in Birmingham. What a superb day it’s been!
The weather has been phenomenal (the Goddess is smiling on us, obviously), and there was a great turnout for the marches in Coventry and Birmingham. It wasn’t just the NUT this time – a huge number of public sector unions were united in solidarity as we marched through the streets to let the government know that enough is enough.
Members of public sector unions rally at Victoria Square, Birmingham
I stood shoulder to shoulder with members of Unison, Unite, GMB, PCS and FBU, united with one cause – to stop the relentless attacks on public sector pay and conditions.
For some reason, the media in this country don’t like unions. I was interviewed on the picket line for BBC Coventry and Warwickshire Radio. The presenter seemed inherently hostile towards union action, suggesting that we want a day off work. I can’t really afford to lose a day’s wages, but I know that unless I take action now, things will only get worse. I’m striking today because I’m passionate about teaching, and I care about my students; ultimately, it is the students who will suffer if teachers’ morale is hammered even further down through real-terms wage cuts and increased work load.
Michael Gove, our secretary of state for education, has repeatedly refused to come to the table to discuss teachers’ conditions, and has demonstrated that he is so far out of touch with state schooling that he is not fit for the job. He must go, if there is to be any reasonable chance of improvement in the future.
The general election is less than a year away. We must ensure that we all exercise our right to vote in order to evict the criminals who currently hold our lives to ransom.