Parents will suffer most as teachers go on strike

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It was known that strikes by teachers would cause some measure of disruption across our area.

It is, after all, the aim of industrial action to make enough noise for those who are striking to get their point across.

But it’s probably fair to say that the extent of the chaos, as outlined in The News today, will be worse than feared.

It’s hard to argue that teachers don’t have anything to gripe about.

Like many over recent months they have been hit hard by the government’s programme of cuts. And the proposed changes to their pension arrangements are a legitimate cause for concern.

It is beneficial to us all to have enthusiastic, motivated teachers whose salary and benefits adequately reflect the importance of the vital job that they do.

It is their right to stand up and fight for those remunerations and benefits and most parents would support them in that.

Teachers are, like transport workers and council staff, in a different position to private sector workers who have an issue with their employer.

Industrial action on their part doesn’t just affect a company’s profits – it causes widespread disruption to the public on a huge scale.

Next week’s strikes will send a message to the government about teachers’ unhappiness.

But it will hit ordinary working parents far harder.

Many of those are also struggling with economic problems and as a result of this action will need to take time off work or pay for childcare to cover for the time when their children would ordinarily be at school.

Compounding this problem is a lack of information flowing between schools and parents in some cases – often made worse by the fact that it is unable to tell until the very last minute whether a school will be closed or not.

Informing a parent on a Tuesday that they need to make arrangements for Thursday is unfair to say the least.

If this dispute goes on, we would hope the point can be made without those who value teachers most becoming the ones to suffer the greatest impact.