Growing up in the 1970s/1980s in the London suburbs was great, even strikes seemed fun. Electricity strikes meant candles, Green Goddesses were something to spot.
Then my dad took me into the city and I saw and smelt the piles of rubbish in the London streets due to local Government strikes.
Not long afterwards, my mother, a teacher who taught even when diagnosed with cancer, came home, her hair full of dried phlegm, having been spat on, jostled and called a “Blackleg” by picketing ‘colleagues’ as she refused to strike. Her pupils were in exam period and she simply wanted the best for them.
So, maybe I’m writing from a biased point of view.
However, some still appear to live in a bygone age, wanting to re-enact the 1970s mayhem that meant the end of so much industry, with more competitive firms abroad taking the business away.
The truth is that many in the public sector do not like the fact that they also have to get into the real world where everyone else lives.
A real world where millions in the private sector have gone for five years since the start of the recession with little or no pay rises, working longer hours to keep our jobs or to help our employers keep afloat, where many can’t afford a pension and don’t dare take time off with illness as they’d only get SSP.
Yet people working outside the public sector are expected to pay, via taxation, for public sector pensions and sick pay (often abused to appalling levels), the profligacy of local Government and for the proliferation of non-jobs created during 13 years of Labour Government.
We are sick of having to take time off work as the schools are shut and of hearing whining about people having to put a little more into their own pension when we can’t afford our own.
It’s no wonder that when strikers, desperate for support, recently stood on the Hornsbridge roundabout hoping for toots from car drivers, they got fewer backing Pips than Gladys Knight.