On 5 July 2016, members of the NUT went on strike, and Voice General Secretary Deborah Lawson was quoted in a number of national newspapers and news websites, and did a round of broadcast media interviews, about why Voice members do not go on strike.
“A teachers’ strike is a ‘futile and politically motivated gesture’ that harms pupils’ education and portrays educators as ‘militant hardliners’, the head of a teaching union has warned ahead of a national walkout over pay and funding for schools….
“Deborah Lawson, general secretary of Voice, the union which was founded on the principle of not taking industrial action, has said that striking is a ‘political action’ which shouldn’t be considered even as ‘a last resort’.
“… she said strikes ‘damage schools’… ‘fail to impact on those responsible for disputed policies but do provide ammunition for politicians and politically-motivated commentators eager to portray teachers as militant hardliners who are unwilling to compromise.
“’Instead, they cause great inconvenience … for pupils, parents and non-striking colleagues across the school team, damaging pupils education, staffroom relations and the economy, as many parents are forced to take time off work.
“‘Futile, politically-motivated, gesture-politics strikes simply strengthen the case for government interference and further rob the profession of the opportunity to wrest education away from political ideology.’”
Her comments were also reported in:
She also observed that it was:
“Unfortunate that industrial action becomes the focus of attention rather than school funding, workload and the erosion of teacher pay and conditions which are some of the very real issues for the profession.”
The General Secretary was inteviewed on the Victoria Derbyshire programme (BBC News) (from 51:06) (click on photo):
BBC Radio Derby (01:01:05 & 01:14:30)
BBC Three Counties Radio (02:08:10)
BBC Radio Stoke (01:11:40)
BBC Radio Surrey (02:53:48)
BBC Radio WM (10:24 mins) and
Voice General Secretary Deborah Lawson
In March 2016, Deborah Lawson took part in a debate on public sector strikes at the Oxford Union:
Why these members don’t strike: