Today’s strike action, principally by members of the NUT (teachers) and PCS (public sector workers) unions, is a strike against children in defence of privilege.
It is strike against children in the small sense of depriving many of a day of the education their parent’s taxes have paid for.
It is strike against children in the deeper sense that what the Unions demand is for future generations to carry the burden of their privileged pension commitments today.
There are many detailed points of due process and politics that contribute to this dispute. Underlying it is a battle over two very simple point of principles.
Whether or not those of us who can afford to fund our retirement should do so.
Whether or not there should be equivalence between public and private sector provision.
In the private sector principle one is settled. Final salary schemes are being replaced by defined contribution schemes.
In the public sector there is still a pervading sense of unreality that the trillion pound gap between promises and payments can be bridged without reform.
On question two old arguments dishonestly claiming public sector are particularly poorly paid or that the work is radically different to the private sector are deployed by the same people who argue for fairness and equity in many other areas of public life.
What reform is proposed is not even equivalence with the private sector (bar retirement ages), just a less generous form of defined benefit based on career average earnings. It is a modest, generous, and reasonable reform, around which discussions are still in process.
Public sympathy in that regard, which is currently fairly balanced, is unlikely to warm to the Union cause.
They deserve to lose. They will lose.
If they don’t our children, and theirs, will pay the price.
The government should hold their nerve.