Education secretary’s comments credited with attracting new members

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Record numbers of lecturers joined the University and College Union (UCU) yesterday as Michael Gove delivered an attack on unions, according to membership data analysed today.

Almost 300 people joined the union on Monday, which was more than joined during either of the first two weeks of the month. There has been a steady increase in union membership in November, but yesterday’s spike was more than double the previous working day’s total of 143. This time last year 33 people joined the union.

UCU said the education minister was misguided to say educators want families to be inconvenienced by the strikes or that they want people to lose pay. The union said what its members, and the hundreds of thousands of public servants taking action on Wednesday, wanted was proper negotiations, not more government spin.

General secretary Sally Hunt said: “Despite being possibly the only minister to have stood on a picket line, Michael Gove is still symptomatic of this government’s complete lack of understanding of trade unions and working people.

“Educators are far from mindless militants and to suggest they want to inconvenience anybody is incredibly insulting. They would rather be in the classroom than on the picket line tomorrow, but they will fight to save their pensions. They want proper negotiations to secure a resolution to the dispute and it is time for the government to deliver.

“Strike action will always be, quite rightly, a last resort and for Michael Gove or anyone in government to suggest otherwise exposes the contempt with which they hold hard-working public servants.”


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