Striking teachers from across London, along with lecturers and civil servants, will be gathering in their thousands at Lincoln's Inn Fields at 11 am tomorrow for our march and rally to Stop the Pensions Robbery. The press will also be there in force to cover our action.
Dozens more similar rallies will be taking place across the country where teachers will hear a message of congratulations from Christine Blower and Kevin Courtney pointing out that:
"The huge response to our united action has taken the Government by surprise ...
It is simply not correct to describe meetings that are to consult about how to implement an unfair tax as genuine negotiations. Our pensions are not gold plated. They are fair. They are affordable.
...We are right to defend them, to defend our profession and to defend education.
90% of Lewisham schools will be partially or totally closed to pupils by the action. Simnilar reports have come in from elsewhere in London. Where teachers have leafleted at their school gates, the support from parents has been noticeable, despite the obvious inconvenience that a strike creates.
As we have put in our leaflets to parents, "Cutting our pensions won’t help save anybody else’s job or restore private pensions. If the Government succeed, it will only encourage them to carry on cutting everything else as well. But, if we can persuade them to think again, other campaigns are more likely to win too!"
We have just had one isolated case of a school trying to break the action by bringing in staff to put on activities in the absence of striking NUT members - regrettably, football coaches from the Millwall Community Scheme. A number of angry life-long Millwall fans and local trade unionists, such as ex- Socialist Party Councillor Ian Page, have rung to express their anger at Millwall's name being associated with attempts to undermine trade union action. Ian has written a complaint pointing out that "We have just had Dockers Day, I'm sure many ex- dockers would not want the club seen as strike breakers"
A Lewisham Teaching Assistant - and Millwall supporter - has written to say that "Many of the kids I work with access the scheme and it is held in high regard, so for its reputation to be tarnished in this way is very disappointing. I hope that Millwall is not involved in or associated with any strike breaking in the future."
But these isolated attempts will have little effect in undermining the solid action of trade union members who will be striking in their hundreds of thousands tomorrow to stop their pay and pensions being raided to pay for a crisis that we did not cause.