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Strike action was a last resort

PUBLISHED: 15:29 16 June 2008 | UPDATED: 20:38 05 July 2010

I WRITE to take issue with the ill-informed and vitriolic attack on my colleagues made by Rachel Moore (May 2).

As local secretary of the National Union of Teachers I was involved with the action taken on April 24 and was very pleased that

members had shown such deep commitment to our campaign for fair pay by withdrawing their labour for the day.

I WRITE to take issue with the ill-informed and vitriolic attack on my colleagues made by Rachel Moore (May 2).

As local secretary of the National Union of Teachers I was involved with the action taken on April 24 and was very pleased that

members had shown such deep commitment to our campaign for fair pay by withdrawing their labour for the day.

I would be more than happy to provide Ms Moore with details of the timescale of our dispute which would show that we took strike action as a last resort, having exhausted all other means.

One of the significant facts in the dispute was the failure by the government to initiate an agreed "trigger review" of teachers' salaries with the excessive rise in inflation. How else does a group of workers make their feelings plain when their employer betrays an agreement?

I watched several news reports about the strike action and cannot recall seeing any of the "sorry spectacle" that Ms Moore describes. I have spoken to colleagues who attended the rallies in Norwich, Ipswich and Cambridge, and these were well-ordered events.

I was in Lowestoft town centre that day handing out leaflets and was pleased with the very positive response from the public.

I can only assume that Ms Moore was referring to some of the photos that appeared in the tabloids the next day and it is very easy to criticise such images without seeing the "whole picture."

Too often teachers are selected as the scapegoats for all of society's ills but it is worth remembering that the influences on children start from the day they are born and there is no substitute for good parenting when trying to teach children the values of a fair society. Children of school age spend on average about six hours a day in direct contact with teachers so what, and who, is influencing them during the rest of their daytime?

PETER BYATT

Secretary

NUT Lowestoft

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