Michael Gove told the Andrew Marr Show this morning that he wouldn’t comment on potential action by the government against the unions, saying he had no wish to “ratchet up the rhetoric” against the movement. Not least when negotiations are still going on.
That comment sits slightly uneasily against his letter to schools calling on them to keep schools open by using the “wider school community”, ie parents.
Nor is any spirit of conciliation conveyed by Gove telling Marr that teachers, whose reputation was already “not as high as it should be“, would lose further respect if they withheld their labour on Thursday.
The education secretary also claimed that teachers should follow the lead of hospital consultants, who don’t go on strike. There is a slight difference, which is that if doctors take industrial action, people are likely to die.
Where I do have sympathy for Gove is his point that the action is premature, given that talks over pensions between unions and ministers have not yet concluded.