The Tory politician in charge of Birmingham’s schools is refusing to call on teachers not to walk out on strike in Wednesday’s national day of industrial action.
Les Lawrence said he wouldn’t ask hundreds of city teachers to turn up for work as normal because the protest at cuts to pensions “is going to happen anyway”.
Coun Lawrence, the cabinet member for Children, Young People and Families, is married to teachers’ union leader Christine Keates.
Ms Keates, General Secretary of the NASUWT union, will be addressing striking local government workers at a mass meeting at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham on Wednesday.
Coun Lawrence said he knew of at least 100 schools in the city that will be closed, but the actual figure is likely to be higher.
He urged both the Government and public sector unions to get back around the negotiating table in an effort to find a solution to the pensions issue.
Under cost cutting proposals put forward by the coalition government, all council staff will have to contribute more towards their pensions and work for longer before they can retire.
Coun Lawrence (Con Northfield) said: “I am not appealing to teachers not to strike. We are at a stage where Wednesday is going to happen.
“What we have to ensure is that both sides have meaningful discussions to resolve the issue.
“I always regret a strike whenever it occurs because industrial action means that an impasse has been achieved.
“My major concern is that this is just a one day strike and that we don’t see any further strikes.”