1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded education professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice

Do you remember the gas strike?

Discussion in 'Retirement' started by lindenlea, Mar 16, 2020.

  1. lindenlea

    lindenlea Star commenter

    I think it might actually have been getting coal to the gas works or oil to the power stations that was the issue but in the mid 70s I remember the primary school I worked in closing to the children - presumably because we couldn't heat it or provide dinners. We always referred to it afterwards as "the gas strike". We had to go in and did (a bit) of work in the staff room. I think there were days if we turned up and signed in we were then allowed to go home. On some days we brought in the children with learning difficulties and did some small group teaching in the one room that we could heat. I haven't made this up.
    Then there was the time under Edward Heath when, for a while, our salaries went up each month. I'm not making that up either. But you know that - this is the Retirement forum after all.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  2. Lidnod

    Lidnod Senior commenter

    Do you refer to the 1972 miners’ strike when they picketed the power stations to stop coal getting through? Power station workers refused to handle coal but the engineers in the EPEA stood in for them, to avoid a total blackout, which the TUC didn’t like. My husband was a member of that union, though in research rather than a power station. There would be another miners’ strike in 1974 which resulted in the three day week and a rolling schedule of power cuts. I get very frustrated by tv programmes which make it sound as if this was a long term thing for months on end.
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2020
    lindenlea likes this.
  3. lindenlea

    lindenlea Star commenter

    I was still at college in 72 and the rolling programme of power cuts led to a candle falling over and setting our flat on fire so I certainly haven't forgotten that. It must have been 74 that we thought of as the gas strike.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  4. Lidnod

    Lidnod Senior commenter

    That must have been terrifying! When I was a student doing my PGCE my then fiancé considered my top floor rooms in an almost empty three storey house a fire risk and insisted that I have a rope ladder he provided, safely fixed next to the window. I was always dubious about my skill and courage in attempting to climb down and thankfully a fire never did break out during my time there. However, he was quite right because after I left to take up my first teaching job, a fire did breakout.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  5. border_walker

    border_walker Lead commenter

    I remember a well shared letter from a female student to her boyfriend. went something like- we were bored with nothing to do so we all went to bed with a candle. If anyone else was at the same university at the time, you probably heard this tale.
    Lidnod and lindenlea like this.
  6. Morninglover

    Morninglover Star commenter

    My father removed the battery from the car, and used it to run the small black & white TV we had upstairs in our house (I was about 15 then!). The screen was about 12" or 16" across, and we peered at it when the lights were out after dark!

    Of course when the strike was over and we put the battery back in the car, it didn't start the engine! Whoops!
    Lara mfl 05, Lidnod and lindenlea like this.
  7. lindenlea

    lindenlea Star commenter

    Great story!
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  8. Lidnod

    Lidnod Senior commenter

    In case anyone is concerned about the covid 19 situation, the National Grid Executive Director has said:
    ...we want to reassure everyone that we have plans in place to keep the networks working throughout the coronavirus outbreak.

    We have well-developed procedures in place to manage the effects of a pandemic ... demand across the country is expected to reduce; largely owing to a decrease in energy use from industrial consumers .... Our control centres have fully operational back-up locations and our engineers are trained across multiple roles... with a range of additional measures to segregate our critical employees...We have comprehensive and well-developed procedures in place to manage the effects of a pandemic and do not anticipate any issues in continuing to reliably supply gas and electricity.

    ...The ENA will publish any new information relating to the energy industry, as well as providing guidance and advice for consumers.

    In the meantime, please continue to use energy as you usually would...
  9. Jolly_Roger15

    Jolly_Roger15 Star commenter

    Thank the Burnham Committee for that. Teachers' pay nearly doubled in the early Seventies but any advantage was soon whittled away in times of 15-20% annual inflation levels.

    A shortage of gas might have been in the early to mid Seventies when some areas still used coal gas.
    HelenREMfan likes this.
  10. lindenlea

    lindenlea Star commenter

    I think Burnham was the start of decent salaries. Pre-Burnham the money was a joke. I cant remember the name of the chap who produced the report that really helped - it was Clegg. The Clegg report did it I think. Even predated Burnham but I could be wrong.
  11. Jolly_Roger15

    Jolly_Roger15 Star commenter

    @lindenlea: Burnham came first, I think, followed by Clegg about forty years ago.
    Lidnod likes this.
  12. lindenlea

    lindenlea Star commenter

    I've just googled it and didn't realise the Burnham Committee was a long established body looking at teachers salaries.
    You learn something every day eh!
  13. Lidnod

    Lidnod Senior commenter

    You have reminded me of how I always immediately turned to the back pages of the TES to read Ted Wragg’s column. I seem to remember that he poured scorn on Clegg, looking at where teachers salaries should be placed in comparison to other wage earners; it was the comparison of the profession to those who put the cherries on Bakewell tarts that incensed him and others.
    Lara mfl 05 and lindenlea like this.
  14. lindenlea

    lindenlea Star commenter

    Didn't we all do that :)
    Lara mfl 05 and Lidnod like this.
  15. Lidnod

    Lidnod Senior commenter

    My husband, not a teacher, used to pinch my TES just to read his column. Sadly missed.
    Lara mfl 05 and lindenlea like this.
  16. neddyfonk

    neddyfonk Lead commenter

    1974 was a strange year. Walking home at night, all the street lights over half the city went off for about 4 hours. I made lights out of jam jars filled with paraffin and a shoelace wick. I worked at Humbrol that decided to invest in two large marine diesel powered generators to keep the factory working during the power cuts. Arthur Scargill fought hard to try and keep pits open, but coal mining is far too labour intensive, dangerous and costly compared with the nuclear and gas alternatives. The clean air act managed to end domestic coal use and rid London of deadly pea soupers that were killing thousands of people. I actually miss the smell of coal smoke and thought it was great fun to be engulfed in billowing clouds from steam trains.
  17. Lidnod

    Lidnod Senior commenter

    I can’t read that without visualising the scene from The Railway Children: ‘My daddy... ‘
    And I grew up in a railway town, waving at trains from my pram. The drivers often waved back.
  18. Dorsetdreams

    Dorsetdreams Occasional commenter

    On the subject of dark streets, I have vivid memories of going off to primary school, as a five year old, in the dark, due to double-daylight saving. It must have been about 1968. Looking back, it seems a little surprising that the only preparation my mum made was to give my sister and I bright arm bands: she certainly didn't feel the need to accompany us.
    Lidnod and dancingqueen18 like this.
  19. Jolly_Roger15

    Jolly_Roger15 Star commenter

    I used turn to the back page of the TES, to read Ted Wragg's columns first,, and then scan my way forward, through the more boring bits of the paper.

    Historically, teaching, like nursing, was predominantly staffed by women, and seen as 'vocations', rather than 'professions', for which 'too generous remuneration would be undesirable, as it would attract the wrong sort of person'. Teaching, especially once it became all graduate entry, and the PGCE compulsory, it lagged behind, being considered one of the 'minor professions', with no direct comparisons, other than things like nursing, which were equally poorly paid.

    When I started teaching, in 1978, the starting salary was about the same as what an unskilled machine operator earned at the Bell Punch factory, in Uxbridge!
    Lidnod and Dorsetdreams like this.
  20. Jolly_Roger15

    Jolly_Roger15 Star commenter

    @neddyfonk: In the late Sixties and early Seventies, British Summer Time was adopted as British Standard Time (BST). I remember standing at the bus stop to go to school at about 8:15 and it was only just getting light. I have mentioned this to people, over the years, but nobody seems to remember it.
    Dorsetdreams and Lidnod like this.

Share This Page