Wednesday 26 October 2011

Education Lobby takes pensions message to Parliament

London was hit by heavy showers today - showers that fell heavily on the long queue of teachers and lecturers waiting outside Parliament to take our message to MPs - "hands off our pensions!"

The rain may have dampened shoes, coats and leaflets but it won't have dampened spirits or determination to get our message across. However, it was a pity that the planned march was never finalised and there was no opportunity to get the hundreds of lobbyists together in a joint meeting before going on to the lobby queues.

A joint Lewisham delegation of NUT, ATL and UCU members met with Lewisham East MP Heidi Alexander. Heidi acknowledged the good level of public sympathy for our campaign - even if she tried to counsel against a sustained course of action that she felt might risk losing that support. I explained that we'd obviously work hard to explain to the public why we were taking action, but the Government were leaving us with little choice.

Heidi promised to put a statement on her website following our visit. She also explained that her own father-in-law - an ATL member - had been on strike for the first time in his life on June 30, so she knew how strongly teachers felt about the issue. What then, we asked, did she think teachers felt about Ed Milliband's attacks on our action in June?

Heidi made clear that there had been plenty of discussion within the parliamentary party since June 30 - so let's hope the soundbites will be different on November 30. Let's hope the weather's a bit drier too!

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