UK Politics

The parent's view

Public sector workers are striking over proposed pension changes. The industrial action could involve up to two million people.

Parents of children whose schools are closed for the day have been explaining the impact on their childcare arrangements and jobs to the BBC News website.

Diane Fairbairn - working parent, Edinburgh

Diane's daughter Katy with her cousin Josh
Katy and Josh are missing school due to Wednesday's strike

The impact of this strike is a ripple effect. As a single working parent to a seven-year-old daughter, I have no child care provisions.

North Edinburgh Childcare have stated that because of Granton School striking like every other school in Edinburgh they have closed the child care element also.

However I still have to pay for child care even though no care will be given.

I know why the strike is happening but I do not think the unions have the slightest clue of the havoc they are going to instill onto families who are struggling at the best of times. I know that this was their intention so as to make a point worldwide.

I have now had to ask my parents who are 71 and 69 to look after my daughter along with my nephew. At their age this is just not right but I have nowhere else to turn as I do have to work or look for employment elsewhere.

Because of the strike I am at my wits end - because of the unions and so called Government not getting this pension sorted my child care is thrown into disruption.

Maria Squance Clark - working parent, Truro

Empty coat pegs in a primary school
Many schools in the UK will close due to industrial action

Along with many other working parents, I will find it difficult to accommodate the public sector strike planned for Wednesday.

Childcare is a juggling act on a normal week to week basis, without a strike by teachers being thrown into the mix. This year I have already had to reduce my working hours to ensure I am able to be there for my children after school.

When the last strike by teachers took place, I had to explain to my children why one of them had to go to school and not the other, as one class teacher in the same school was on strike but the other was not!

I work in the retail sector, as a manager of a clothing store, so to take my children to work, as suggested by David Cameron, would be totally impractical.

However if I do not go to work then I will have to take this as unpaid leave, which would have a direct impact on my pay. This reduction in pay would be unwelcome at any time of the year but even harder in the run up to Xmas.

At the moment I have had a tentative offer from a friend who might be able to look after my son and daughter alternatively I might have to call upon a family member to help.

However if this does not materialise, I will take the necessary time off unpaid to ensure they are looked after.

Andrea Knapton - Registered Childminder, Morley

Nursery children playing
Many nurseries and schools will be closed

As a registered childminder I have taken the decision to provide my services free to those children registered with me who would normally be at school.

I will not be charging additional payment for the day as parents would have to find another £50 to £80 for the day.

This, coming at a time when most people are struggling financially, and so near to Christmas would be just another huge burden.

I am astounded that Mr Cameron should suggest that parents take their children - wherever possible - into work.

How does Mr Cameron expect parents to actually get any work done whilst their children are there?

I have mixed views about the strike action. I agree with the right to strike and their reasons for doing so.

However, if there is no money to meet their demands then any action, I'm afraid, is futile and the disruption to everyone's lives will be in vain.

On Wednesday the children and I will be visiting a local farm, collecting greenery for Christmas decorations and making lots of home made decorations.

I will ensure that their day has plenty of learning opportunities as well as having fun and being safe whilst their parents are at work.

I do however wonder what is going to happen to those children whose parents do not have this option available to them, especially at a time when most workers are worried about keeping their jobs.

Ruth Kemsley - working parent, Sittingbourne

Ruth Kemsley
Ruth Kemsley is taking her child to work

The public sector strike called tomorrow has affected the regular routine of my child's day.

This does have an effect on his emotional well-being, as alternative arrangements for his care have had to be made.

This has caused main carers to have to be cancelled as he is not at the right place to be collected and in the end I have decided to request that he comes into work with me, following the idea presented last week by David Cameron.

This has proved possible because I work locally for a small firm that value families and is flexible to the needs of its employees.

I do not have a front desk role and as my child is of secondary school age and I work part-time, the balance of needs to go to work and consider the safely of my child in my workplace can be achieved.

Although, I appreciate the reasons for the strike and that pension provision is a major concern in itself for the nation, I cannot see how striking will provide a positive outcome.

General, perceptions of public sector workers getting better pay than private sector is confusing the issue as this is very rarely the case and I wonder if the financial provision of pensions it where the discussion should really lie.