Monday, 25 February 2008

Strike Me Down

Before I start this rant I must make it very clear that I have nothing against strikes. In fact I have been fortunate enough to be involved in more than one picket line in my time.

I, along with many others, shouted "Scab!" with gusto at the poor sods who had no choice but to go through the revolving doors and keep the company going whilst us young, child-free and carefree workers threw caution and our careers to the wind. Funny how the threat of instant dismissal was never carried out though. There was, after all, a company to keep going and sacking, oooh around 50 per cent of the workers (not a bad turnout for the 90s) would have been even more reckless than belonging to the Union.

But that was then and tonight I am very cross. It is 10.30pm and I have just been wrestling around the kitchen with flapjacks that would probably do better as hard landscaping at the end of my garden. I have been trying, and nearly weeping with the sheer toil, to cut them from their tins into little squares to sell tomorrow at my son's stall at parents' evening. Nay, banging the tins on counter tops, dropping them on the floor even. To no avail.

Now, said stall was cancelled because of impending industrial action by non-teaching staff at the school. The non-teaching staff have had my full support in their fight against a lousy restructuring of pay scales that would have seen many take a salary drop of thousands and be required to work at any school with no notice and no continuity both for them and the children they support. My son has already thoroughly enjoyed one strike day, and tomorrow was to be another. The parents' evening was always going to go ahead as teachers weren't on strike. But no one would be around to provide that vital so often unseen support to the teaching staff and the parents, so all stalls, cakes and merriment were cancelled.

I saw this as a thinly disguised "I speet on your strike" from the Head. She was trying to teach by misguided implication that these naughty support staff were spoiling our fun. The fact that although parents' evening was going ahead school was cancelled for, like, the second day in as many weeks, failed to register in her tiny head when assessing the spoiled fun factor ratio. But of course all the children were ecstatic. Bollocks to cakes, they had the whole day off again!

Then, all of a sudden the council decided to 'reach an agreement' at the 'eleventh hour' (as always) meaning that (oh happy, happy day) a slip arrived home in my son's bookbag. Which I discovered at 7pm, having spent the afternoon helping my mother direct two removal men in the art of house clearance over at my Grandma's, now she has moved into far more palatial surroundings.

I digress, with exhaustion. So, at 7pm having just about put together pork chops and mash I sank back on to my perching stool in the kitchen to take the full force of the triumpant note home to parents.

"Due to successful talks between the Council and the Unions, the planned strike action for tomorrow has been called off. Therefore school will be OPEN tomorrow."

And written beside it in red felt tip pen was a big "Oh no!". And I had to agree with my son. But my sentiments involved far more swear words.

"Cakes. Lots of cakes. Now, like right now, before bedtime. Before tomorrow. Oh fucking hell."

So we made chocolate cake and flapjacks. And now I have to go to bed because tomorrow it's Rice Krispie cakes (not even at my most fatigued could I possibly screw those up) and quick biscuits, to replace the unfortunate flapjacks which I am seriously considering making into a patio. So much cheaper than paving.

And all for what? The sodding Dog's Trust. I hate dogs. And charidee events. But my son loves dogs, and has a giving heart. And I love my son. So let him eat cake, and all the other children. Even if it's revolting.