'Half-hearted' Michael Gove must stick to the issue, declare PROs

PR professionals have criticised Michael Gove following his suggestion that a strike would be harmful to the reputation of the teaching profession.

Michael Gove: faces criticism over teacher strikes
Michael Gove: faces criticism over teacher strikes

The Education Secretary told BBC 1’s Andrew Marr Show: ‘I do worry that taking industrial action, being on the picket line, being involved in this sort of militancy will actually mean that the respect in which teachers should be held is taken back a little bit and I think that it will be a shame for all of us who want a better education system.’

Cathcart Consulting CEO, Jackie Elliot said: ‘His comments were a rather half-hearted attempt to focus attention away from the reasons for the strike and move them towards the wobbly echelons of reputation management.’

On Thursday members of the ATL and NUT will strike against proposals to change pensions that would mean they will have to work for longer and receive less when they retire.

Gove also added: ‘It’s within their rights, it’s a civil right, but I think it is wrong in terms of the reputation of the profession.’

Weber Shandwick corporate comms and public affairs UK chairman, Jonathan McLeod said: ‘The reputation of a profession extends to beyond a single day of industrial action. However, teaching unions would be wise to ensure their striking members have a clear and simple message for parents and the public on the reasons for the strike.’

Elliot also added: ‘They need to stick to the issue and be absolutely clear about where they stand – that they’re striking in sorrow and not in anger. It is the last resort and they shouldn’t be drawn into any emotive comments.’

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