Ex-teacher slams strikes that will cost him £250 as he has to take a day off to look after his kids
A former teacher who says he will lose £250 in earnings in order to look after his two children when teachers go on strike tomorrow.
Paul Long, in his forties, said the educators withdrawing their labour have ‘got their audience completely wrong’.
The father-of-two, from near Birmingham, is a full-time self-employed education consultant with two children both of primary school age. His wife works in the NHS and he formerly worked as a computing teacher.
Mr Long said he will need to take the day off on Wednesday to look after his two primary school-age children, and he foresees a loss in his earnings of around £250.
Paul Long, who is a former teacher, who has said he will lose £250 in earnings in order to look after his two children when teachers go on strike
The UK faces the biggest day of industrial action in more than a decade tomorrow as teachers join walkouts from university staff, train drivers, civil servants, bus drivers and security guards. Pictured: Teachers on the picket line in Scotland last week
The industrial action tomorrow is the first of seven days of strikes by the union in February and March amid a pay dispute.
Teachers in England and Wales who are members of the National Education Union (NEU) will strike, with more than 23,000 schools expected to be affected tomorrow.
‘Both our children’s teachers are striking in a junior school which means both of them need childcare,’ Mr Long said.
‘I will have to not work. I will have to take an unplanned day off work and that means that the money I would’ve earned on that day won’t be made, and that’s going to be in the region of about £250.
‘But to put this in context that’s not £250 that goes into my pocket. From all of that I’ve got to pay my own holiday pay like any self-employed person does, I have to pay my own sick pay.
‘Everybody plans their work time and their childcare around the school dates. And when we’ve planned all of that, and then you get a sudden change, then it becomes a problem.
‘A school closes for a snow day because it’s unsafe, that’s fine, we’ve got to take that on the chin – this is a school closing because a national union has chosen to take a strike, and it’s having a big financial impact on us for three Wednesdays.’
The Department for Education has offered a 5 per cent pay rise to most teachers for the current school year, but the NEU is demanding a fully funded above-inflation pay rise for teachers.
Support staff in Wales, who are members of the NEU, will also take part in the action.
Furious parents have revealed they still don’t know if their children’s schools will be shut tomorrow because of the teachers’ strike – with some claiming they won’t be told until the morning.
Kevin Courtney (left) and Mary Bousted, joint general secretaries of the National Education Union speak to the media outside the Department of Education in London yesterday
Concerns have been raised about parents finding childcare during the strikes, with the director of policy at the National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA) Jonathan Broadbery telling PA that early years settings ‘might not be able to take all the children that they planned to’ when teachers strike.
But Kevin Courtney, joint general secretaries of the National Education Union, said parents have been largely supportive of the strikes – with some expected to join demonstrations on Wednesday – as they can see ‘schools have been run down’ and have teacher shortages.
He added: ‘It’s a strike against disruption in education. We want the strike to be effective because we want to concentrate the Government’s mind on solving the issue.’
Mr Long said he has ‘sympathy’ with teachers, saying ‘they have got a genuine cause’ – but he did not believe striking was the answer.
‘Strikes don’t hit government. As far as the government’s concerned it’ll be here one day, it’ll be yesterday’s news the next day,’ he said.
‘But the strikes hit the parents who have now got to take this day off work.
‘I have sympathy with (the teachers’) cause and I think that’s really important to say, because they have got a genuine cause, there are genuine issues with the education system that need addressing.
‘What I disagree with is the way that they’re going about it through strike action rather than exploring alternative forms of industrial action which would be more effective and would be targeted at the government rather than targeting parents.
‘They’ve got their audience completely wrong.’